Elyria, Ohio– Safety successes shouldn’t be kept secret.
“A network is the strongest thing we can have to support safety on the roads and across the trucking industry,” said Ken Sutton, director of safety at JNJ Express. “You learn what’s happening with other companies, and in other places, and that helps everyone develop strategies and expertise. People and fleets learn together: If one company is safe, it’s important that they share that information with others to create a safer environment for the whole motoring public.”
Based in Memphis, Tenn., JNJ Express backs that philosophy through active participation in events and organizations like the Tennessee Trucking Association and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), as well as its own efforts to put safe drivers in safer trucks. The safety-award-winning transportation and logistics provider equips its vehicles with Bendix’s ADB22X™ air disc brake system, as well as Bendix’s flagship driver assistance system, Wingman® Fusion™.
“We’ve got families that depend on their loved ones coming home, so whatever we can do to give our drivers an advantage and keep them safer, along with everyone else on the roads, we’re going to do it,” Sutton said. “We’ve been doing business with Bendix for a long time, and we’ve seen the results that show these latest technologies are helping us make our vehicles safer.”
Bendix is the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles.
Growth, and Safety
JNJ Express was formed in 1992, but the trucking roots of company founder John Ennis Sr. go back to his childhood in Alabama and a father who operated a three-truck fleet. After more than a quarter-century of his own experience in the industry, Ennis Sr. started JNJ as a spotting and shuttling service, expanding to logistics and over-the-road trucking in 1998. JNJ employs about 700 people total, with about 600 drivers on the road. The company serves the lower 48 states and has grown from a fleet of around 125 tractors in 2010 to 520 currently on the road. The fleet also includes 1,700 trailers.
“Customer demand is the main reason for that growth,” Sutton said. “Our customers want over 99 percent on-time delivery, and we’ve built our company on getting the product there when it’s supposed to be. That’s where Bendix helps us: If you have safety issues on the road, you’re not going to be able to fulfill your promise.”
Sutton – whose background includes time spent as an instructor for a national training center and an auditor for the U.S. Department of Transportation – is well recognized in the transportation industry for his expertise on commercial vehicle safety systems.
JNJ primarily runs Navistar International® ProStar® and LT® model tractors, with some Peterbilt and Kenworth vehicles in the mix. The company began adopting Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brakes about four years ago and exploring collision mitigation technology soon after. Two years later, Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ became the first collision mitigation system spec’d by JNJ.
“The ownership has never wavered on making drivers and equipment safer,” Sutton said. “They have always supported any efforts that we in the maintenance and safety departments have introduced to them. And they encourage our hosting events for things like safety and maintenance councils, sharing our ideas, and learning from others’ efforts.”
Driver Assistance, Not Replacement
Integrating and advancing a proven suite of Bendix safety technologies – radar, camera, and the vehicle’s brake system – Wingman Fusion combines and cross-checks information from multiple sources, enabling it to deliver enhanced rear-end collision mitigation and braking on stationary vehicles, along with features that can only be accomplished with a camera, such as lane departure warning, and overspeed alerts and action. This creates a comprehensive driver assistance package that’s capable of alerting a driver sooner, as well as decreasing the vehicle’s speed significantly compared to previous systems – all of which helps mitigate potential collisions or lessen their severity. Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ also helps drivers avoid additional crash situations, including rollovers, loss-of-control, and sideswipe crashes, since it is built on the foundational technology of the Bendix® ESP® full-stability program.
“We tested several different systems, and none of them identified objects like Fusion – and since it’s both radar- and camera-assisted, it doesn’t give a lot of false readings,” Sutton said. “Fusion is the industry leader as a technology, and it allows the driver to get used to driving a collision mitigation-equipped truck.”
Wingman Fusion’s combined technologies – radar, camera, and brakes working together, and not just in parallel – create a system that typically assesses situations faster and reacts earlier, while also reducing instances of false alerts and false interventions, and prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction that may result from multiple alerts sounding simultaneously. The system’s camera is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.
“We found that other systems tended to intervene too quickly, where Fusion effectively recognizes when the driver is taking action on a potential situation,” Sutton explained. “We actually feel it should be a mandatory technology, but that’s for other people to decide – we’re just going to do what’s safest for our drivers and the travelers around them.”
Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brakes also enhance safety by providing shorter stopping distances compared to drum brakes, virtually eliminating brake fade, and providing greater reliability with more consistent stops. This, combined with the Bendix® Splined Disc® rotor, completes the “friction couple” to provide optimized wear life – for the ADB friction and rotor – through lower temperatures for both. Bendix’s ADB system helps deliver lower total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages that include quicker pad replacement and longer pad life, leading to greater uptime and lower maintenance costs.