ELYRIA, Ohio – Talk to Ronnie Holland, and there’s no mistaking the purposeful discipline of TCW, Inc.’s approach to safety: “We don’t compromise,” he says. “From our employees to our customers’ freight to our equipment to the people on the road around us – we have to help protect it all.”
For 10 years, Holland has worked as director of safety at the Nashville, Tennessee-based regional carrier, which serves the southeastern United States primarily in the intermodal arena, while also offering LTL, warehousing, and truckload services. Over that decade – and more – TCW’s team has partnered with Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and equipped its trucks with Bendix brakes and active safety technologies.
Recently, the company spec’ed Bendix’s flagship collision mitigation technology – Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ – on all its Peterbilt Model 579 day cabs, along with Bendix™ BlindSpotter® Side Object Detection System. TCW also specs the Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brake on all tractor axles and uses SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS to help support its continuous push for safety.
“There’s great value in longstanding partnerships,” Holland said. “Bendix has played a significant part in supporting and enhancing our safety culture going back to 2007 when we adopted their stability system, and our teams’ work together has made us a better and safer company.”
What “FDP” Means at TCW
Founded in 1948 and employing just over 700 people, TCW counts 550 drivers on its roster. From its 12 terminals – largely around rail hubs and ports – the company provides pickup and delivery generally within about 300 miles, with the goal of having all its drivers home at the end of every day.
In addition to its Peterbilt tractors, TCW’s fleet includes 300 trailers and 1,300 intermodal chassis. The carrier’s dozens of fleet safety awards include twice earning the American Trucking Associations’ President’s Trophy – once in 2010, in the under-25 million miles category, and again in 2016 in the 25-100 million miles category. And yes, Holland said, TCW has its eyes on going for the three-peat in the 100 million-plus miles class.
“We often talk about ‘FDP,’” he said. “We’re safe for three reasons: Family, Duty, and Pride. We’re committed to getting our drivers home to their families safely; it’s our duty as a company to be safe; and we take great pride in being one of the safest fleets in the industry.”
TCW’s safety culture is built on many components, including investment in technology to assist its drivers, raising awareness through training and regular safety meetings, and driver bonuses for operating safely and remaining accident-free. The fleet incorporates Bendix technologies into several of those building blocks, both on and off the road.
Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ gathers input through radar, video, and the vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the information from sensors that are working together and not just in parallel. By creating a detailed and accurate data picture, Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel.
The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.
TCW’s active safety systems are supported at the wheel-ends by Bendix® ADB22X™ air disc brakes with the Bendix® Splined Disc® rotor. Drum brakes can fade during heavy stop-and-go traffic situations or during mountain descents and can extend stopping distances as they heat up. Air disc brakes, on the other hand, virtually eliminate brake fade, provide shorter stopping distances, and deliver greater reliability with more consistent stops.
Additionally, the fleet specs Bendix™ BlindSpotter® Side Object Detection System – a side-radar system designed to alert drivers to vehicles or objects in adjacent lanes to help drivers mitigate sideswipe crashes. BlindSpotter operates independently of the Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ system.
SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS is the video-based driver safety platform featuring a user-friendly web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with videos of severe events. The system wirelessly transmits real-time data and event-based information from a vehicle’s J1939 network to the fleet’s back office for analysis. In March, Bendix introduced the powerful new fifth generation of the processor platform.
Beyond Technology: Delivering Strong Results
“Bendix systems and support are a significant part of our safety culture,” Holland said. “In addition to assisting drivers, they also help us manage our risk. Drivers have told us that Wingman Fusion has likely prevented accidents, and in some cases, its video capability has helped clear them of blame for incidents.
“I’ve heard from several drivers new to the system that they don’t care for the alerts and interventions, but then our trainers will point out that once you learn what causes that feedback, you adapt your behavior. Drivers realize they have to drive differently – and that can reduce at-risk behaviors.”
The implementation of Bendix collision mitigation systems has led to a 73 percent reduction in preventable critical crashes at TCW, most significantly in the area of rear-end collisions. In 2018, Holland said, the fleet recorded just one rear-end collision – its best year on record. The fleet’s coaching practices have also been improved, Holland noted, because the data provided through SafetyDirect means that driving habits and potentially dangerous incidents that previously went unnoticed can now be observed and managed.
“In working with the team at TCW, we’ve never encountered someone who says, ‘That’s good enough,’” said Lance Hansen, Bendix North America regional vice president – fleet/trailer sales and service engineering. “Every time we meet with them, they’re laser-focused on collaborating with Bendix to pursue the best products and tools for their drivers in pursuit of safer vehicles and roads. We are very proud of our long relationship with TCW; it’s based on common values, strong communication, and a keen awareness of everything that’s at stake every time someone gets behind the wheel.”
Holland agrees. “We’re better and safer because of the hard work we do with Bendix, and we never want to be satisfied with ‘good,’” he said. “When it comes to safety, we are striving for excellence.”
Bendix has worked for nearly 90 years to lower the total cost of commercial vehicle ownership and strengthen return on investment in technologies that make travel safer for all who share the road. The company delivers on safety, vehicle performance, and efficiency – areas critical to the success of fleets and owner-operators – through an ever-growing portfolio of technology developments, along with unparalleled post-sales support.