Drivewyze, a leading subscription service that helps truckers skip weigh station stops, is rolling out the first phase of a nationwide safety alert system to raise driver awareness of low bridges and high rollover areas on their routes.
The Dallas-based company embeds its in-cab PreClear software in electronic logging devices offered by Omnitracs, Transflo, Trimble and others. Drivewyze said it worked with law enforcement and safety officials in 32 states to test the alerts with major customers at 500 locations in over the last 18 months.
“We didn’t just test deployment. We tested outcomes and saw the difference that it made in safety,” Doug Johnson, Drivewyze vice president of marketing, told FreightWaves. “We’re noticing a significant change in driver behavior, especially among drivers who might not have traveled in some areas where our alerts activate.”
Record truck crashes
The number of trucker-involved crashes on U.S. roadways reached a 29-year high in 2017. Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts a 3 percent increase when 2018 results are released later this year.
A 2017 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identified rollover crashes as the main cause of 4 percent of all fatal large truck crashes and 3 percent of all non-fatal crashes.
Free for subscribers
The new service is free for subscribers of the Drivewyze weigh station bypass subscription software service. Visual and audible alerts call attention to upcoming safety hazards. Drivers get a “heads up” about 1,000 feet before reaching a potential high-rollover curve.
“We worked closely with our state partners to identify the areas that had higher incidences of rollovers, so our alerts offer an early warning to drivers to check their speed,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze.
Slowing down is the best way to avoid crashes, Heath said, adding that Drivewyze found a 17 percent reduction in speeding incidents around curves where it had alerts in place.
The company’s internal studies found that going 5 mph over the posted speed limit around a curve doubled the likelihood of being involved in a preventable crash compared with a driver observing the speed limit.
Low bridge hazards
For the low bridge warnings, Heath said Drivewyze identified 1,500 strike-prone bridges along common trucking routes. It geo-fenced them for alerts.
The U.S. Department of Transportation identified more than 4,200 bridge strikes in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. Bridge strikes can be embarrassing and expensive. Trailer repairs average around $10,000, not counting cargo damage, Heath said. And the truck owner is liable for potentially costly bridge repairs and DOT penalties and fines.