The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to promote the safe operation of commercial vehicles on our Nation’s highways. Of all the people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2005, 12% (5,240) died in crashes that involved a large truck. Another 114,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Only about 15% of those killed and 24% of those injured in large truck crashes were occupants of large trucks.
While significant improvements in highway safety are being realized, more must be done to further reduce the number of truck-involved crashes and resulting fatalities and injuries. The OBMS project produced a prototypical suite of hardware on a Freightliner Century Class truck at the Richmond Field Station. 12 (5,240) died in crashes that involved a large truck. Another 114,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Only about 15% of those killed and 24% of those injured in large truck crashes were occupants of large trucks.
The hardware suite allows for online measurement of a set of driving characteristics which are indicators of unsafe driving behavior. These characteristics include speed, following distance, lane-keeping performance, safety belt use, and the use of turn signals. Feedback can be provided to drivers, either directly in real-time or through carrier management, which would allow drivers to significantly improve their safety performance. For example, if a driver receives a report that he/she is not using his/her turn signals during lane changes, that driver can then be monitored during a follow-up period to determine if the feedback had corrected the deficiency. This concept would be pioneered in commercial fleets because they have the resources and organizational structure to provide feedback and training to professional drivers.