When the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance launched Operation Safe Driver in 2007, there were more than 11.5 million large trucks and buses registered in the U.S. – and by 2016, almost another million had joined the ranks. Over the same stretch of time, the number of miles driven annually by all motor vehicles in the country climbed by more than 140 million. Every one of those vehicles and every mile traveled is another reason Bendix never stops creating technologies that support safe driving and reinforcing its efforts to keep vehicles on the road and in good operating condition.
Operation Safe Driver Week, taking place July 15-21, aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles due to unsafe behaviors by both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers. CVSA works with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) during the week to promote traffic law and safety belt enforcement, operating safely around commercial vehicles, roadside inspections, regulatory compliance, and commercial driver education.
“Highway safety is an incredibly complex equation, and we can’t control all the factors out there on the road,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs, and Class A CDL holder. “But in support of the goals of Operation Safe Driver Week, we can do everything possible to equip fleets and drivers with safer trucks, and to arm technicians with all the knowledge they need in support of safer transportation.”
Protecting drivers through safer trucks
The men and women behind the wheel of commercial vehicles across North America face increasingly crowded roads and an array of ever-changing road and traffic conditions: Bendix advanced technologies help them meet these challenges from the ground up.
At the wheel-ends, Bendix safety solutions include the powerful Bendix ADB22X air disc brake, and the Bendix ADB22X-LT trailer air disc brake for surer, straighter stops; and the light and durable family of Bendix ES (Extended Service) foundation drum brakes, bundled with the Versajust slack adjuster and EnduraSure spring brakes. Bendix braking products are manufactured by Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC, a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC.
Since launching the ADB22X in 2005, BSFB has produced well over two million units, reflecting an ever-increasing demand for air disc brakes in the commercial vehicle industry. Worldwide, Bendix and its parent company, Knorr-Bremse, are the clear global leader in air disc brake production at nearly 40 million and counting.
Serving as the basis for a host of higher-level safety technologies, the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system helps to address both roll and directional instability through sensors that recognize and mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss of control. It’s also the foundation upon which Bendix’s flagship driver assistance technology, Bendix Wingman Fusion, is built. Integrating a forward-facing camera and radar with the vehicle’s brake system into a comprehensive driver assistance program, Fusion gathers input through this suite of sensors working together, and not just in parallel. The result is a system that creates a highly detailed and accurate data picture using deep, multisystem integration, setting it apart from radar-only systems.
These solutions are complemented by other proven Bendix technologies, including the Bendix BlindSpotter Side Object Detection System, designed to alert drivers to vehicles or objects in adjacent lanes to help drivers mitigate sideswipe crashes; and SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS, which wirelessly and automatically transmits real-time driver performance data and event-based information – including video – to fleet offices for analysis via a user-friendly web portal. Both operate independently of the Bendix Wingman Fusion system.
“We have a passion for supporting highway safety – for the fleets, the drivers, and all others who share the road – through effective, integrated solutions. It’s very important to note no technology can replace a skilled, professional driver practicing safe driving habits, and backed by proactive, ongoing training programs,” Andersky said. “Bendix safety technologies are not meant to enable or encourage aggressive driving, but to support safe driving practices. Responsibility for the safe operation of any commercial vehicle remains with the driver at all times.”
To familiarize drivers with new technologies as adoption increases, Bendix provides on-site demonstrations and ride-and-drive training. The company also produces videos that demonstrate its systems and explain the in-cab experience; the videos are published on the Bendix YouTube channel).
The importance of upkeep
Even the safest vehicle requires proper maintenance at the hands of trained, knowledgeable technicians. Recognizing the role of upkeep in enhancing roadway safety, Bendix offers a continually expanding range of in-person and online education programs.
Its in-person, hands-on training includes the long-running Bendix Brake Training School, conducted at locations across the United States; on-site maintenance demonstrations and detailed system explorations; and on-site technician training covering troubleshooting and system maintenance.
The free Bendix On-Line Brake School at brake-school.com provides a 24/7/365 training portal with dozens of maintenance courses and tests for sharpening technical knowledge and skills. At the Knowledge Dock (knowledge-dock.com), Bendix maintains an archive of its informative Tech Tips series, along with continuously updated videos, podcasts, white papers, and blog posts addressing maintenance and other critical topics for the commercial vehicle industry.
“Know-how and technology go hand-in-hand, and a great system is all but useless without qualified technicians and drivers to keep it running and maximize its potential,” Andersky said. “We’ve got nearly 90 years of experience as a company helping create safer roads for everyone, and that’s as valuable a resource as any piece of equipment.”