On-road fatalities plague societies around the world, and road safety must improve, Volvo Trucks said today during an education session at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.
Safety is the cornerstone on which Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson built the company, establishing safety as a core value in 1927. Gabrielsson and Larson are famously quoted as stating, “A vehicle is made by and for people. Thus, the basic principle of all manufacturing is and must remain safety.”
“Each year more than 1.2 million people per year are killed on roads around the world, and we must change the world,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director, Volvo Trucks. “Often times it’s not until a traffic accident or fatality personally affects our lives that we take note of the problem. We know that about 90 percent of all accidents are a result of human factors, so real progress requires a change in mindset so we don’t tolerate accidents and their contributing behaviors.”
Volvo Trucks globally has a Zero Accident Vision.
“We should not accept any fatalities in traffic at all, and our vision means that no Volvo truck is to be involved in a traffic accident,” said Almqvist.
To achieve this vision, Volvo is continuously developing products and systems that help prevent accidents from happening and reducing consequences if an accident does occur. In North America, Volvo made Volvo Active Driver Assist, which includes Bendix Wingman Fusion, standard on the new Volvo VNR regional haul series and Volvo VNL long-haul series tractors. Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), full stability technology, has been standard on Volvo on-highway models since 2007.
“Technologies can certainly help improve safety and show even greater promise in the future, but we must always recognize the human element in safety,” said Almqvist.
“I commend companies and programs that invest in identifying the importance of professional drivers and the significant role they play in all our lives. I strongly believe that drivers perform far better when they feel engaged, appreciated and a valued part of their company.”
Traffic safety is a complex issue that’s further complicated by growing congestion.
“All road users are part of the problem and we must all be part of the solution. Collaboration is key because no single entity can solve the problem alone,” said Almqvist. “Eliminating traffic accidents requires truck manufacturers, authorities, infrastructure planners and other experts around the world to work together.”
Still underutilized among heavy-duty truck drivers, use of a safety belt is among the driver behaviors proven to help save lives in the event of a traffic accident. Volvo invented the three-point safety belt in 1959.