The numbers tell a story. Start with 3.6 million. That’s how many professional truck drivers are on the job nationwide. Try 10 billion. That’s the total payload, in tons, of goods and services those drivers safely and securely transport every year. How about 70%? Those 10 billion tons account for 70% of America’s total annual freight. Another: Roughly 80% of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking to deliver their goods.
And this: The men and women behind the wheel log more than 400 billion miles every year—or more than 2,100 trips to the sun and back.
The story couldn’t be clearer. America’s truck drivers perform a vital service every day, every hour. How vital? Try to imagine a world where the goods we need—from daily staples to emergency supplies—go undelivered. Yet, the contributions of these drivers often go unseen and unrecognized by the millions of people who depend on them.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, sponsored by the American Trucking Associations, shines a deserving spotlight on the drivers who work around the clock, in all weather, to keep our grocery stores stocked, hospitals supplied, gas tanks filled, and so much more.
The celebration happens annually, with this year’s commemoration running Sept. 11-17.
“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is a wonderful opportunity to recognize our country’s professional trucks drivers, who truly deserve our appreciation every day for moving America forward—and all with an unwavering commitment to safety on the road,” said Fred Andersky, director of demos, sales, and service training at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. “Everyone at Bendix extends their sincere gratitude to these drivers.
“We’re proudly committed to supporting their hard work by developing systems that help provide safer trucks, and training and education that help safe drivers perform even more safely. After all, ensuring everyone arrives home safely is the most important delivery of all.”
Bendix develops and manufactures active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles. These technologies include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that deliver stability control and collision mitigation. The solutions are engineered to help drivers do their jobs more safely—but drivers remain the key to safer roads.
There is simply no bigger factor in CV and highway safety than the person behind the wheel.
“Driver assistance technologies are advancing rapidly,” said Andersky, who holds a Class A CDL. “But nothing on the road today is remotely close to fully replacing a skilled and alert driver. That is why we at Bendix work so hard to provide equipment and training that enable them to perform at their best. ADAS technologies are designed to support and complement drivers, and to assist in preventing even the best driver from having a bad day due to road and traffic situations that are constantly changing.”
In addition to ADAS, other Bendix solutions that support drivers include air disc brakes, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and steering assistance. Additionally, Bendix electronic parking brake technology helps prevent rollaways and improves the in-cab ergonomics by eliminating the “sting” of push-pull air brake valves, Bendix said.
“Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices,” Andersky said. “No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training.
“Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.”
As fast as safety technologies are evolving, it can still take years—if not decades—before most commercial vehicles on the road are equipped with them. That’s even with systems like electronic stability control being mandated and truck manufacturers making collision mitigation standard. Up-to-date, proper training on their use and maintenance has become more important than ever in helping keep drivers safe.
“We still need to focus our industry’s safety efforts on supporting drivers and their skills, along with their understanding of what technologies can do—and just as importantly, can’t do—to help them on the road,” Andersky said. “It becomes increasingly important to prepare and educate drivers on leading-edge safety systems.”
Bendix’s driver-focused efforts include on-site demonstrations and ride-and-drive training sessions; videos exploring Bendix systems and explaining the in-cab experience at the company’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/bendixvideos); and the “Truck Talk with Bendix” podcast’s “Driver Insight Series” collection of episodes. All these resources are designed to help ensure safety systems are used correctly and to their maximum benefit.
In addition, Bendix offers a training portal at http://www.brake-school.com that provides free access to a wide array of technical courses; and the Knowledge Dock at http://www.knowledge-dock.com, which has archived resources like the Bendix Tech Tips series, podcasts, blogs, and white papers.
“At Bendix, we proudly and enthusiastically support America’s truck drivers—as part of our legacy of dedication to the commercial vehicle industry going back nearly a century,” Andersky said. “Through technology and training, we are committed to helping these men and women safely travel the road ahead.”