Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

When it comes to new technology, the first step is usually the hardest. As drivers get access to advanced driver assistance systems and learn how ADAS can make their jobs easier, the response is even more welcoming.

Looking over my notes from the recent Corcentric Maintenance Meeting and Supplier Summit, I realized that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are truly top of mind with fleets and manufacturers.

With presentations from Mack, Volvo, Eaton, Daimler, Peterbilt, American Transportation Research Institute, North American Council for Freight Efficiency, and some of our largest fleet clients, the consensus was that ADAS are almost to the point of a “must-have” for fleet operators.

The move to these systems is driven by fleet concerns for both driver and general public safety. As drivers are presented with these systems and how they make their jobs easier, most of them welcome the new technology.

Fleets also are faced with a continuing driver shortage, and they must look to hire from a broader pool of resources, which will mean that the overall level of driving experience will diminish. However, a truck equipped with ADAS, driven by someone with even limited experience, will be a vehicle that is much easier to handle, reducing stress and improving safety and efficiency.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of an over-the road-tractor driver is 55 years old. As is the case with many new technologies, you may think there would be push back from this experienced group. But as we saw with automated/automatic transmissions, many of the “old school” drivers initially pushed back on the change but now more than 90% of new tractors are spec’d with automated/automatic transmissions.

When it comes to new technology, the first step is usually the hardest. And we have already taken that first step with transmissions. Now that drivers see and feel the advantages of technological assistance, they are looking for more things that can make their jobs easier. ADAS is one of those technologies. Just remember to train drivers on the features of the technology and the way it works so they are comfortable the first time they get behind the wheel of an ADAS-equipped truck.

ADAS are also becoming a focal point in crash cases. We have all read quite a bit about “nuclear” verdicts. One of the first questions attorneys ask defendants is, “Why did you choose to not spec ADAS?” If it is a matter of cost or ROI, hindsight would show that the cost of the accident far outweighed the cost of the systems.

It is time to invest in your drivers and provide them with the tools they need to make their job more enjoyable. We all know safety is paramount. ADAS will be key to our future success.

At Corcentric, we stand ready to help any fleet bridge that gap.  To learn how we can help, contact Corcentric today.