Illinois Company Equips Bendix ® Collision Mitigation, Air Disc Brakes, and Web Portal
ELYRIA, Ohio – July 31, 2018 – In a very good way, G&D Trucking Inc./Hoffman Transportation LLC has one thing kind of backwards: “We operate on about a 3 percent driver turnover rate, which is just about the complete opposite of the industry in general,” said Jerry Curl, director of operations at the Channahon, Illinois-based carrier. “Our average driver has been driving safely for 34 years and 3.2 million miles, and they’re the reason we invest in the most advanced safety systems and driver support technologies: It’s our goal to do everything in our power to make sure they get home at the end of the day, the week, or however long they’re on the road.”
Hoffman, which this spring won the National Tank Truck Carriers’ top safety award for fleets below 15 million miles, equips its trucks with Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems’ collision mitigation technologies – including Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ on its newest additions – as well as the Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brake. The company is also incorporating SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS into its operations.
“We get in the cabs with our drivers and see what they’re up against,” Curl said. “They’re truly excellent professionals – they have the toughest job of anyone and are the reason each of us is employed. We have an obligation to protect them, as well as the motoring public: Somebody’s loved ones are in those cars and trucks and vans – it’s your family, it’s my family, and that’s why these advanced safety systems should be standard.”
Hoffman has been in business for nearly 40 years, delivering dry and liquid bulk to the lower 48 United States and Canada, with terminals in Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Wisconsin. Its fleet includes 140 tractors – a mix of Kenworth and Peterbilt models – and 400 trailers. More than 150 of its 212 employees are drivers.
“You have to drive a truck to know what they go through,” Curl said. “And we spend more money on our trucks because they’re family, and we want them to know that. We’ve built a culture that they want to be part of, and they’ve come to us and thanked us for spec’ing the trucks the way we do.”
Hoffman’s adoption of advanced safety systems goes back to Bendix’s earliest radar-based collision warning technology, Bendix® Wingman® ACB – Active Cruise with Braking, and has been a constant ever since. The fleet’s vehicles have been equipped with the original generation of the Wingman family, which offered adaptive cruise control with braking; Wingman® Advanced™ – A Collision Mitigation Technology; and the current flagship driver assistance system, Wingman® Fusion™. Fusion is installed on 25 Hoffman Trucks, with another 15 on order.
Three years ago, Bendix introduced Wingman Fusion to the market. Because it is built on the foundational full-stability technology of Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program, Fusion can help mitigate potential rollovers and loss-of-control situations, as well as collisions.
Combining input from radar, video, and the vehicle’s brakes, with the sensors working together and not just in parallel, Fusion gathers and cross-checks the information from a variety of sources to create a highly detailed and accurate data picture. This enables Fusion to provide enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, along with adaptive cruise control, following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, overspeed alerts and action, stationary vehicle alerts, and braking on stationary vehicles – all prioritized to help reduce driver distraction.
The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.
“Our drivers have been very receptive to Fusion,” Curl said. “They like having that added safety, and they’ve said it takes stress out of the job, especially in heavy congestion. The system can react more quickly than a human body or mind, and that assist can be the difference between a collision and a near miss. The first time this technology helps in a close call that was beyond their control, the drivers are 100 percent sold on its worth.”
From Brakes to the Back Office
About three years ago, Hoffman also began spec’ing the Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brake (ADB), which is now standard on all its tractor wheel-ends. “The ADBs provide a considerable performance improvement and reduced stopping distance, which is another level of safety protection,” Curl said. “Couple that with the maintenance advantages, and they’re a win-win.”
Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes are produced by Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB), a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. BSFB has produced well over 2 million units since launching the brake in 2005, and demand across the commercial vehicle industry continues to grow. Bendix and its parent company, Knorr-Bremse, are the global leaders in air disc brake production, at nearly 40 million and counting.
Because air disc brakes virtually eliminate brake fade, they provide consistent stopping power in all situations, including heavy braking environments such as stop-and-go traffic and mountain descents. The ADB22X exceeds the federal Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD) requirements mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and exceeds FMVSS-121 stopping distance requirements by 20 percent. Additionally, air disc brakes offer straight, stable stops and a car-like feel.
In the shop, air disc brakes increase uptime and decrease operating costs through significantly quicker friction replacement than drum brakes – roughly one-quarter of the time once the wheel is removed. The ADB22X also includes an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring.
To further strengthen its safety efforts, Hoffman is in the process of incorporating the SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS web portal. Linked to onboard safety technologies and other sources, SafetyDirect captures information and then, using the fleet’s telematics system, automatically transmits driver performance data and event-based information – including video. The tool provides a wealth of knowledge that can further help fleet managers and drivers strengthen safety.
It’s hard to argue with results. In winning the National Tank Truck Carriers Sutherland Division award this year, Hoffman achieved an accident frequency of just 0.090 accidents per million miles. The fleet has also earned top marks in Great West Casualty Company’s Safety Awards. Trophies aren’t the goal, though: They’re just a reflection of the company’s culture and respect for its drivers.
“It’s not like we woke up one day and said we were going to try and win these,” Curl said. “We earned them because of what everyone in our trucking family does every day, and that’s putting safety first at every level.”
It’s an approach the Bendix team recognizes and deeply respects.
“The team at G&D/Hoffman has always asked the same questions that drive us here at Bendix,” said Lance Hansen, Bendix North America regional vice president – fleet/trailer sales & service engineering. “How can we make vehicles and highways safer? What’s the next technological step in supporting truck drivers? Are we doing everything we can to set the foundation for the next move forward in safety? We’re proud not just to provide them with cutting-edge safety technologies, but to partner with them in building a safer future.”
Bendix delivers on areas critical to fleets’ success: safety, vehicle performance, and efficiency, lower total cost of operation, and unparalleled post-sales support. By strengthening return on investment in technologies that improve commercial vehicle safety, the company aims to make North America’s roads safer for all who share them.
Visit the Bendix Knowledge Dock® multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com to explore blog posts, podcasts, videos, and more about a range of trucking-related topics, including advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems, and the commercial vehicle regulatory landscape.
For more information about Bendix safety technologies, call 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) or visit www.bendix.com.