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Safety & Accident

FMCSA Eyes Lane Safety Systems

March 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. federal trucking regulators are interested in new lane departure warning technology as a way to mitigate the rate of off-road accidents and rollovers on North American highways, according to Today’s Trucking Online. At a recent Departure Warning Systems Webinar, Amy Houser of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration discussed findings from recent field operational tests in heavy commercial trucks, which were part of the Department of Transport’s Intelligent Vehicle Initiative program.The pilot project, which focused mainly on roadway departures on both straight and curbed roads with a fleet of Mack trucks, found that lane departure warning systems (LDWS) reduced single-vehicle roadway departures (where the truck veers off the road) were reduced by 21 to 24 percent. Also, the FMCSA realized a potential 17- to 21-percent reduction in rollover crashes.LDWS are not yet the industry norm, but fleets that spec them say they can’t image fleet life without the technology. The tests examined the number of large lane excursions, number of “drift” incidents, and the amount of time the vehicles stayed outside of the lane, according to Today’s Trucking Online.Utilizing optical, electromagnetic, or GPS technology, LDWS are in-vehicle devices that warn a driver of a lane departure with either a loud alarm or by mimicking a “rumble strip” vibration. Usually, sensors on the outside of the vehicle work with cab-mounted cameras to detect lane boundaries and monitor when the vehicle departs from those margins. The FMCSA says its next steps in regards to LDWS technology, includes seeking more industry collaboration; integrating LDWS warning effectiveness with other technology; compute costs; and integrate future testing plans with more rigorous evaluations.

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