Carrier’s Comprehensive Fleet Safety Approach Includes Leading-Edge Technology, Training, and Long-Term Commitment
ELYRIA, Ohio – Oct. 9, 2017 – Ask the Southeastern Freight Lines team about fleet safety, and it’s quickly apparent how comprehensive the carrier’s approach is: “Our objective is to put our people in the safest environment possible by maximizing the use of everything from training and accountability to process compliance, reviews, and control, to the technology we use in the office and on our trucks,” said Kerry Stritt, Southeastern vice president of fleet services.
As part of that complex safety equation, the Lexington, South Carolina-based less-than-truckload carrier is equipping all new tractors in the fleet with Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™, Bendix™ BlindSpotter® Side Object Detection System, and Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brakes.
Founded in 1950, Southeastern Freight Lines is a privately owned regional less-than-truckload transportation services provider specializing in next-day service in the southeastern and southwestern United States. The company operates 89 service centers in 14 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and provides expedited service and multi-modal transportation services across the nation through its subsidiary, Southeastern Logistics Solutions.
“Even though we have an impeccable safety record and win numerous American Trucking Associations awards each year, we have a philosophy of Continuous Measurable Improvement, and a quality improvement process that began in 1985,” Stritt said. “We started using Bendix® Wingman® Advanced™ in 2013 on some of our sleeper tractors, and saw an immediate impact, so we added the Wingman technology to all of our line-haul equipment the next year. In 2016, we made the decision to add Wingman® Fusion™, BlindSpotter®, and Bendix air disc brakes to all our tractors, including local pickup and delivery units.”
The Fusion build for Southeastern Freight Lines started in the first quarter of this year with Kenworth tractors. By the end of the year, Bendix’s flagship advanced driver assistance system will be equipped on more than 90 of the carrier’s vehicles.
Spec’ing for Safety
Bendix Wingman Fusion gathers input through radar, video, and the vehicle’s brakes, with sensors working together, and not just in parallel. By combining and cross-checking information from multiple sources, Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles, all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Fusion’s forward-facing camera is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms. Because the system is built on the Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system, Wingman Fusion can also help drivers in collisions, potential rollovers, and loss-of-control situations.
A side-radar system designed to alert drivers to vehicles or objects in adjacent lanes, Bendix BlindSpotter Side Object Detection System provides drivers visual and audible alerts when vehicles are traveling in the truck’s right-side blind spot. This stand-alone system complements technology like Fusion.
Air disc brakes are also best paired with today’s advanced safety technologies, helping them perform at their best by providing straight, stable stops while virtually eliminating brake fade.
“There are many moving parts to vehicle and highway safety, from spec’ing the right systems to hiring and training the best people on and off the road,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “For decades, the team at Southeastern Freight Lines has been committed to putting the right pieces in place, and everyone at Bendix is proud to play a role in helping them create a safer environment on roads across North America.”
Making a Difference
At Southeastern, results matter. And Bendix is making a difference.
“Our tractors currently operating with Bendix’s advanced safety equipment have a 73 percent lower frequency of accidents than those that are not equipped with collision mitigation technology,” Stritt said. “Reducing accidents means our drivers and the motoring public are safer, and our overall costs are lowered.”
Leading-edge equipment is only one part of the safety equation, of course: Southeastern’s safety culture also includes proactive and ongoing driver education, aided in part by SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS. Linked to onboard safety technologies that wirelessly and automatically transmit real-time driver performance data and event-based information – including video – SafetyDirect provides a wealth of knowledge that can further improve fleetwide safety.
“The data produced through the SafetyDirect web portal allows us to analyze what type of training and follow-up we need fleetwide as well as for individual drivers,” Stritt said.
Bendix and Southeastern both stress that no technology replaces a safe driver practicing safe driving habits, and that driver assistance systems like Wingman® Fusion™ are not meant to encourage or enable aggressive driving: Safe operation of any commercial vehicle remains the responsibility of the person behind the wheel.
“This technology supports good driving, and makes our drivers better – even helping mitigate mistakes made by other drivers on the road,” Stritt said. “The bottom line is that it lowers costs, reduces accidents and injuries, and saves lives.”
Learn more about Bendix’s advanced safety technology development, driver assistance systems, and commercial vehicle safety in the Bendix multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com. Product- and service-related content includes podcasts, blogs, videos, and more. For further information about Bendix collision mitigation systems, contact Bendix at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE or visit www.safertrucks.com/solutions.