A local transport company is driving change in road safety by using a ‘fatigue and inattention’ system to monitor truck drivers.
The $6.5 million Advanced Safe Truck Concept, an Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre Project, aims to reduce fatal truck crashes by developing new vehicle technologies.
Mark Parry, the managing director at Ron Finemore Transport, said the technology has already been implemented in all of the company’s trucks and does a few key things.
“If a driver has fatigue event, a micro-sleep, the technology will recognise that and alert the driver through an audible alarm and a vibration on the seat,” he said.
“That data goes to an operations centre which records the event, gives us the warning that it happened and we can follow up directly with the driver.
“We can use the footage to understand whether they were distracted, whether they momentarily had some sun in their eye, or whether there was fatigue.”
The technology also uses driver and forward facing cameras to monitor the driver’s behaviour and record any incidents on the roads to understand the event.
Mr Parry said the new initiative is about driving the technology forward to better understand how road incidents can be prevented.
“This is about collecting the information to try and understand what factors or circumstances might lead to a fatigue event,” he said.
Ron Finemore Transport, which has a depot base in Wagga, will participate as their trucks are already fitted with the driver monitoring technology as part of the project’s Naturalistic Road Safety Study.
Wagga’s Projects Manager and Driver Trainer, Peter Love, said the technology is not about spying on drivers but a way to proactively manage their safety.
“It’s the way of the future,” he said.
“If you’re fatigued, this technology will alert you, and will make you aware that you are fatigues.
“We make a phone call the first time it goes off to assess whether the driver is safe to continue.”
Concerns over the safety of truck drivers was highlighted with the the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ latest quarterly bulletin.
In NSW from December 2016 to December 2017 there was an 81.8 per cent increase in fatal crashes involving articulated trucks.