Industry groups have banded together in efforts to boost trucking safety through a new design challenge, dubbed the ‘Truck of the Future.’
Together for Safer Roads, along with PepsiCo Inc., Republic Services, and Anheuser-Busch InBev are working together to find the most efficient and cost-effective methods of ending big-rig involved crashes. The groups say non-commercial vehicle drivers and passengers are particularly at risk in regards to visibility issues while on the road with heavy-duty trucks.
The timing of this new design challenge comes in honor of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
According to safety experts from large fleets gathered by Together for Safer Roads, one of the biggest issues currently at hand for road safety is that of driver visibility. TSR is a global NGO that aims to work with community stakeholders, government officials, and businesses on fleet safety management efforts, technology initiatives, and local projects that will help to prevent traffic crashes and deaths.
TSR also began in alignment with the UN’s Decade of Road Safety and is collaborating with TSR members around the globe. Partners also include groups like AT&T, CalAmp, Geotab, Lyft, Marsh, and Samsara.
“This project is our call to arms regarding an under-appreciated aspect of road safety,” said David Braunstein, president of TSR. “After all, drivers cannot react to what they cannot see or sense. We must make meaningful progress towards the 2030 agenda, and bringing together these influential partners is part of our unique contribution.”
The team effort is looking for startups dedicating efforts to commercially-viable new technology to partner with, and the participating groups say this is the key to finally improving overall driver visibility on roads worldwide.
“There are many interventions that can address driver visibility issues–improved cab designs, collision avoidance systems, and better infrastructure, to name a few,” said PepsiCo’s vice president of global environment, health, and safety, Cormac Gilligan. “PepsiCo is pleased to be a part of a collective solution.”
The group has also partnered with other organizations such as the NYC Department of Citywide Administration Services, UPS Inc., and advisors from prominent truck safety research agencies.
The main goal of the effort is TSR’s intention to reaffirm the groups’ Stockholm Declaration commitment, along with their commitment to the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety plan, which will continue through 2030.
“At AB InBev, we believe that multi-stakeholder approaches are key to tackling road safety effectively,” said AV InBev global director of safety, Joshua Girard. “The inclusion of our technology incubator in this unique initiative allows us to solve big business challenges with innovation and creativity, all while contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and [while] fostering safe communities globally.”
Donald Slager, CEO of Republic Services, agrees, explaining that the company is right to be urging for further innovation within the trucking market and safety initiatives.
“We’re the seventh-largest vocational fleet in the nation,” Slager said. “When you get [to that point], those benefits accrue in large ways because we’ve got 16,000 trucks on the street every day.”
Republic is also consistently looking toward newer technology in order to find ways to keep drivers as safe as possible, according to the company’s vice president of safety, Jim Olson.
“Republic Services operates one of the nation’s largest fleets, and safety is our number one priority,” Olson explained further. “We are constantly evaluating new technologies to help our drivers stay safe behind the wheel. Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in video and sensor technology. We are excited to be part of the core focus team for the Truck of the Future project and the potential for fleet innovation.”
For the TSR project, the chosen innovative solution provider is set to be announced during a virtual pitch day in December. This innovative solution will be implemented throughout international markets, along with that of the United States, throughout 2021.
The overarching goal of all of these initiatives, according to group members, is for the participants to be able to create steady, lasting, and scalable changes within domestic and international road safety.