SafeKey debuts driver personal protection device

A touch of the button on the SafeKey Protector device immediately summons law enforcement to the driver's location.

A touch of the button on the SafeKey Protector device immediately summons law enforcement to the driver's location.

The company is also testing a remote shutdown system for when trucks may have been stolen

Driver safety is of paramount importance for fleets and the loved ones truck drivers leave behind when they hit the road. It was the killing of truck driver Jason Rivenburg in 2009 that became the impetus to create Jason’s Law, which seeks to create more safe parking places for drivers.

And it is that driver safety push that is behind Minnesota-based SafeKey. SafeKey is debuting a new personal protection device for drivers this weekend at the American Trucking Association’s MCE 2017 show in Orlando. The device, the SafeKey Protector, is a simple push button that triggers a call to SafeKey’s Security Operations Center (SOC), which summons law enforcement.

“The real thing we bring to this is a real objective response to a driver’s emergency,” said Tom Richardson, business development.

Richardson cited two statistics that he said SafeKey believes are actually lower than what’s being reported: 24% of drivers have been robbed or attacked and 76% of drivers said they have felt in danger at some point.

The SafeKey Protector allows drivers to quickly summon help when they feel threatened or they see someone or something else that is not right. Drivers may not always have access to a cell phone, or have the ability to talk to a 911 operator, but by just pushing the SafeKey Protector button, police will be notified.

Richardson also said that the device can be used for any number of emergencies, including health emergencies or when a truck is hijacked or stolen.

Complementary to that is a SafeKey product that will remotely prevent a truck from starting “should it be compromised,” Richardson said. The company is also testing a product that would remotely shut down a truck should it be stolen.

“If the driver has been compromised, he’s going to push the alarm,” Richardson explained. “Once it’s been verified that a vehicle has been compromised, there is a decision tree and we’re going to give the power to the fleets” to decide whether to shut down the truck’s engine.

If the vehicle is traveling under 30 mph, the system would simply shut off the engine and lock up the brakes. Over 30 mph and it will decelerate the vehicle until it reaches 30 mph and then shut down the engine.

This product could be available by the end of the year, Richardson said.

The SafeKey Protector, though, is available today and in use by fleets.

“A lot of our clients are being proactive and telling drivers, if you see something, press that button and help will come,” Richardson said. “Driving is a dangerous business and it’s getting more dangerous.”

When the SafeKey Protector button is pushed, a call will be sent to the SOC who notify police immediately. A vehicle description, location and picture will be provided to responding units so police can quickly locate the driver or truck.

In addition, fleets can receive alerts that one of their drivers has pushed the button and after the fact, a full incident report is generated. A portal allows fleets to dig deeper into calls with analytics reporting.

Richardson says a 1,000-truck fleet would pay about 58 cents per day, per driver over three years for the system.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight has covered the U.S. trucking and transportation community for more than 10 years, winning numerous regional and national editorial awards, including a Jesse. H. Neal Award. Prior to working on FreightWaves, Brian spent 10 years at industry trade magazine Fleet Owner, and prior to that managed daily newspaper editorial operations.