Trucking news & briefs for Dec. 2, 2020:
Adaptive cruise/lane-keeping assist shown to increase complacency in drivers with time
A four-week field trial conducted recently and released in November by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed common lapses in attention associated with driver-assist technologies that tend to compound in individual drivers the longer they drive with assist technologies active.
As described by IIHS, 20 volunteers drove a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque model or Volvo S90, both equipped with adaptive cruise control, available in some heavy-duty vehicles today as well. ACC can automate speed and headway. The Volvo S90 drivers also had the company’s “Pilot Assist” feature, which ACC and continuous lane centering.
Instrumentation placed in the vehicles captured the extent of the use of the automated features, secondary task activity, hands-on-wheel status, vehicle speed, and GPS location during all of the trips.
The results were that as drivers used partial automation longer periods of time, the more likely disengagement from the task at hand was observed — taking hands off the wheel, using a phone, interacting with electronics, for example.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety characterized the findings as showing that trust in automated systems over time in fact breeds disengagement — the tendency, often referred to as “automation complacency,” has raised concerns among auto safety advocates and experts, including the NTSB, Advocates said.
In a February 2020 crash investigation report, Advocates pointed out, the NTSB called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for monitoring systems that could prevent crashes caused by driver disengagement, a recommendation that has not been acted on thus far.
Regular Overdrive readers will recall the group’s push that same month of its own for safety standards for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including those tested by IIHS, as an essential safeguard to help ensure that the technology performs as expected.
While there’s no car or truck available today that really is “self-driving,” technology that can take over more of the driving task is becoming more prevalent, Advocates noted: “It is time for NHTSA to act with urgency on this glaring safety gap before more road users are put at risk.”
Arizona names Driver of the Year
Brian Lee Sprowel, hauler for J&L Transportation, is Arizona Driver of the Year, the Arizona Trucking Association announced. The award is predicated on Sprowel’s stellar record, with no DOT-recordable accidents or moving violations for the past three years, as shown through a current MVR, and active engagement in mentoring, scene-of-accident support and other copious examples of professionalism.
Sprowel is an avid mentor in the Truckers Against Trafficking nonprofit and holds the responsibility of piloting TAT’s “Everyday Heroes” truck. Brian is also involved in the association’s teens and trucks program, teaching new drivers how to safely operate around a commercial vehicle. He regularly participates in the state Truck Driving Championships and was the five-axle state champion in 2016.
The association also recognized fleets for exemplary safety in three categories:
- 1-500,000 miles: , Precision Heavy Haul, Inc. — Michael Poppe, President
- 500,000 to 1 million-mile category, J & L Transportation Inc. — Mike Jimenez, President
- 3 to 7 million miles goes to Barney Trucking Inc. — Glen Barney, Owner and Founder