As part of its ongoing efforts to educate the industry about active safety technologies, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems offered leading drivers the opportunity to experience advanced technologies firsthand during the American Trucking Associations National Truck Driving Championships, conducted Aug. 9 to 13 in Orlando, Fla.
An annual competition among professional truck drivers, the NTDC consists of winners in eight classes of competition from 50 state trucking associations’ truck driving championships. Bendix demonstrated how the company’s Bendix Wingman Advanced collision mitigation technology helps drivers on the road to improve highway safety. More than 60 drivers and others attending the NTDC participated in the demos, which took place on Orlando public roads in daylong sessions on Aug. 11 and 12.
“We are pleased that so many drivers participated in the demo,” says Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government relations. “Keeping these elite, respected drivers aware of safety technologies helps improve understanding of their value for all drivers.” According to recent reports from government regulators, the single largest factor impacting truck safety and truck crashes is the behavior of other motorists. “Active safety technologies, like Bendix Wingman Advanced and Bendix ESP, help drivers respond to the situations they encounter on the road every day,” Andersky says.
From the passenger seat of a truck cab, participants experienced the Bendix Wingman Advanced in real-world situations. Bendix Wingman Advanced is designed to deliver both warnings and active interventions to help drivers potentially avoid rear-end collisions or, at least, help reduce their severity. The system provides following distance and stationary object alerts, along with active braking interventions, which are always available. When in cruise control, the adaptive cruise control with braking feature helps drivers maintain a safe following distance behind a forward vehicle by reducing throttle; engaging the engine retarder; or, if necessary, applying the foundation brakes. The collision mitigation feature of Bendix Wingman Advanced provides additional, more powerful interventions, whether or not cruise control is active, by alerting the driver and automatically applying up to 2/3 of the vehicle braking power to help decelerate the vehicle when the system senses a rear-end collision may be imminent.
Bendix Wingman Advanced builds upon the company’s full-stability technology – Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program – providing fleets and owner-operators with a system designed to help drivers in collisions, rollovers and loss-of-control situations. “Driving a truck isn’t easy,” Andersky says. “I know because I also hold a Class A CDL. It requires skill and attention every time you are behind the wheel. Today’s roadways are increasingly busy. It’s critical that drivers have every tool available to help them do their jobs as safely as possible, especially in light of the new CSA trucking environment. Having these advanced technologies available and in operation is good for drivers, good for fleets, good for owner-operators and good for all of us who share the highway.”
Bendix also was the sponsor of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion Award, given to the overall top driver at the event. The company congratulates the 2011 winner, Paul Phillips, a Con-way Freight driver from Coarsegold, Calif. A driver for 35 years who has logged more than 1.6 million miles, Phillips earned the top award over 428 other drivers.
“Paul’s achievement, along with the achievement of all the drivers who made it to the National Truck Driving Championships, is something that our industry can be proud of,” says Andersky. “Skilled drivers are safe drivers. We believe this award is a very positive reflection of our position that active safety technologies help drivers, but do not replace the need for alert, safe drivers practicing safe driving habits, as well as continuous, comprehensive driver training.”