Collision Avoidance Systems Explained


Reducing collisions are a top priority for fleet managers. Beyond safety concerns for fleet drivers, the financial burden and logistical headache of collisions is a main motivator. From direct costs like motor vehicle repair and replacement to indirect costs like loss of business and administrative burden, even one collision can set off a domino effect of losses.

A collision avoidance system is a safety technology which employs the use a variety of sensors that are capable of detecting unavoidable obstructions in front of a moving vehicle. Depending on the particular system, it may then issue a warning to the driver or take any number of direct, corrective actions. These systems are not an end-all solution, but directly address the issue of collision. They come installed in new vehicles or can be retrofitted to existing fleet vehicles.

These systems provide driver-assist features such as lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection, and forward collision warnings with the critical seconds needed to avoid collision. The logic of the system is that if drivers could receive warning about an imminent collision in time to act, then the severity of the collision could be lessened or, better still, the incident could be avoided altogether.

In addition to avoiding collisions, this safety technology has been shown to provide other benefits such as reduced cost of fuel. Headway Monitoring and Warning (HMW) for instance warns if the distance to the vehicle ahead becomes unsafe. This encourages drivers to maintain a safe distance with enough time to break. This tends to improve the efficiency of your fuel by 2% [1].

Safer fleets also protect, even enhance, a company’s brand by showing their commitment to safety. If a certain fleet has a higher-than-average crash frequency, it will develop a poor reputation within the industry, its customers and the public at large.

One disadvantage of the collision avoidance system is that it requires an upfront investment with no concrete returns on investment.

[1] Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, Automation, and Technology in the Trucking Sector (pp. 13-15). (2017). Washington, D.C.: Securing America’s Future Energy.