Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Systems
Trucking companies that are concerned about safety, of their drivers and the public, have ways to assist truck drivers in preventing some of the most common and tragic of collisions, those caused by lane departure. When a tractor trailer leaves its given lane of travel, other motorists on the road frequently pay the price. Frequently, lane change collisions are caused by drowsiness, fatigue and distraction. Trucking companies are aware of how these collisions occur and their frequency (see below link to FHWA fact sheet). They are also aware that technology exists, and is in use, which would significantly reduce this type of collision if they only chose to use it. Trucking companies can empower their drivers to stay safe by using a lane departure warning system or they can gamble with the lives of the drivers and the public.
Computers and technology now can monitor the position of a vehicle within a roadway lane and warn a driver if it is unsafe to change lanes or merge into a line of traffic. These systems use imaging technology or radar to warn drivers when they are leaving their lane and can also assist drivers who are intentionally changing lanes by detecting vehicles in the driver’s blind spot.
One such imaging system is manufactured by Iteris, which states the following on their website about lane change collisions and their product:
|Latest Statistics: Highway Fatalities|
|42,643||Total Fatalities in 2003|
|23,324||Lane Departure Fatalities in 2003|
|59%||Lane Departure Fatalities in 2003
(Percent of total fatalities as a direct result of unintended lane departure accidents.)
What is LDW?
LDW uses a technology called Machine Vision to track a vehicles position relative to the lane markings. Using image recognition software, the system can detect when a vehicle drifts towards an unintended lane change. When this occurs, the unit automatically emits a distinctive rumble strip sound from the left or right speaker (depending on which way the vehicle is drifting), alerting the driver to make a correction.
LDW works effectively both day and night and in most weather conditions where lane markings are visible. LDW is capable of detecting both solid and dashed lines even if the lines are heavily faded.
"Virtual" rumble strips
U.S. Government accident statistics, collected for over 20 years, show that highway rumble strips, where installed, have proven to effectively reduce run-off-road accidents by 30 – 70%. LDW warns drivers before they hit the rumble strip.
LDW provides all the functionality of highway rumble strips, electronically, everywhere there are lane markings. LDW works on the shoulder, centerline and between lanes.
|Lane Departure Warning Features & Benefits|
|Promotes use of turn signals when changing lanes|
|Conditions drivers to have a keen sense of "lane position awareness"|
|Emits no warning for planned lane departures (with turn signals on)|
|Zero maintenance with functioning wipers and clean windshield|
|Disabled below 37 mph (design for highway travel)|
|Designed for 10-12 year life|
|OEM available through Freightliner, Mercedes, and MAN|
|Can be installed on most power units|
|Many truck drivers report that it is an effective aid in rain, sleet, fog and general low visibility conditions.|
|False warnings are near zero|
|Can warn drivers of impending fatigue before it becomes a problem|