Source: Daimler Trucks North America announcement

PORTLAND, Ore. – As the leading wholesale supplier of acetylene – the most efficient fuel gas for welding and cutting applications – Texas-based Western International provides customers a turnkey solution for receiving this highly combustible gas and maintaining their cylinder fleets across the United States.

“We take a lot of pride in team members and our award-winning safety record, and driver training is a top priority,” said Steve Thompson, director of transportation for Western International. “However, in our business, a single accident can cause significant damage, so we also provide our team members with the most advanced technologies available, such as Detroit Assurance 5.0 to further contribute to a safe environment.”

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The Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of active safety systems uses a sophisticated mix of fused radar and high-definition camera technology to automatically track objects and threats on the road, and then activate in real-time to mitigate collisions.

Detroit Assurance 5.0 is specified in Western International’s fleet of more than 100 Freightliner Cascadia trucks. Thompson noted that after experiencing first-hand the many benefits of Detroit Assurance and in particular, the optional Active Lane Assist (ALA), Detroit Assurance with ALA is now a must-have for the company and its drivers. 

ALA detects the reflective paint and raised reflectors in lane markers. While in cruise, ALA’s Lane Keep Assist actively and continuously assists the driver with keeping the vehicle within the lane. If the vehicle crosses the markers, the lateral steering assist motor – ALA’s Lane Departure Protection – will steer the truck back into the center of its lane and will issue a warning on the instrument panel.

Additionally, Detroit Assurance’s Side Guard Assist (with full trailer sweep capability) automatically detects objects in the truck’s blind spot and along the full length of tractor and trailer to alert the driver to the presence of other vehicles, stationary objects, and even pedestrians in urban environments.

Western International has been the recipient of the Compressed Gas Association’s Fleet Safety award, earning this prestigious honor 16 of the last 18 years, including most recently in 2020. “We don’t have many accidents, but when we do the losses can cost us millions. In comparison, the investment in Detroit Assurance is minimal,” said Thompson. “It just makes too much sense.”

And it is not just Western International that benefits from investing in solutions like Detroit Assurance. According to accident research conducted by Bosch analyzing public crash data, injuries from class 7 and 8 truck crashes could be reduced by up to 23 percent and fatalities by up to 19 percent when they are the accident-triggering vehicle.  Additionally, it is estimated that technologies like Active Lane Assist could reduce the property damage from class 7 and 8 trucks when those vehicles are the accident-triggering vehicle by up to 35 percent.

However, Active Lane Assist is more than a safety feature – it’s also a driver comfort feature. It dampens vibrations from rough roads and issues minimal directional adjustments, translating into significantly less strain on the driver’s arms, shoulders, and neck.

Plus, according to Thompson, knowing that Active Lane Assist is activated in their trucks has had additional benefits for his drivers.

“All of the features of ALA – safety features like monitoring, alerts, and automated steering, as well as its driver comfort features–help take the burden off the driver. It’s a combination of safety no one else can offer,” he said. “We’ve had active brake assist technologies for more than six years, and our drivers say Detroit Assurance with ALA is not only the best one, but it makes their jobs easier and they come home well-rested – and that’s directly helped us with driver recruitment and retention. And anything you can add to your fleet to help keep your drivers happy and retain them is crucial.”