One of the biggest highway dangers for commercial trucks is the construction work zone, where unexpected slowdowns can result in traffic buildups and rear-end collisions. And since heavily loaded trucks require up to 50% more stopping distance than passenger vehicles, the safety risk is acute when conditions call for sudden decelerations from, say, 65 mph to 10 mph.
Transportation technology provider Trimble is looking to reduce the risk by developing a "slowdown alert service" that proactively notifies commercial drivers if there's a drop in road speed ahead. The Sunnyvale, California-based company is creating the product through a collaboration with Purdue University and its Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP).
The service will deliver visual and audible in-cab "slowdown" alerts to drivers using Trimble's commercial navigation and driver trip planning apps, CoPilot Truck and MileOn by PC*Miler, or through the telematics and electronic logging device (ELD) providers that integrate these apps. "Our research has shown that there is sufficient penetration of connected vehicles operating on highways that we can provide advance warning of interstate queues," Darcy Bullock, Purdue professor of civil engineering and director of the JTRP, said in a release. "If we can communicate that information in a timely and non-distracting manner to commercial vehicles, this will provide an opportunity to reduce rear-end crashes involving trucks."