Spearheading commitment to truck safety technology is worth the effort
Aug 1, 2005 12:00 PM
Charles, enjoyed reading your editorial in the recent June issue, “Time to stop cargo tank rollovers.” I wholeheartedly agree with you on many of the valid points you made; ie, operator error, the importance of education, and other solid safety processes that are keys to our successes. But I also believe safety technology is going to have play a key role, which you also acknowledged — but it needs to come sooner rather than later. I think the past performance of the trucking industry (which I am a part of) demonstrates its unwillingness to invest in these technologies that can — and have proven to — save lives.
The pressures of corporate America to provide the highest return for the lowest investment make the ROI the chief driving force for decisions in this area. Any potential lifesaving, accident-reducing technology that cannot pass this muster has not been embraced by many in the industry.
Unless the government moves forward to mandate technologies like lane warning departure, roll stability warning and control, and radar accident avoidance systems, we will never realize their valuable accident- and fatality-reducing potential. Without government intervention and mandates for safety technologies in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, I don't think we would have the lifesaving seat belts, air bags, collapsible steering wheels, etc. So it is with truck safety technology. A plan was worked out by the manufacturers and the government, a commitment was made to do the right thing, and yes, we the users paid for it — but wasn't it worth the investment?
I know that most in the industry will not agree with my viewpoint, and I myself have spent much time trying to rationalize it away with the cost factor. But at the end of the day, I have to look in the mirror and say, “What more can we do to reduce these accidents resulting in far too many fatalities?” If the trucking industry is not going to take the leadership role, then we will force the government's hand and live with the consequences, which from my perceptive may not be all that bad.
T O Rule
Vice-President of Operations, Logex Inc, Orange
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