Missouri Employers Mutual partnered with the MU College of Engineering for groundbreaking research on the effect of collision avoidance technology (CAT) devices on drivers’ behavior. The research provides valuable insights about decreasing vehicle accidents, which are the number one way to die on the job in the United States.
CAT devices sense other road users and intervene if the system detects possible crash conditions and are integrated into many newer vehicles, but what about older vehicles and fleets? To address this problem, the recent study examined how drivers react and feel when using aftermarket CAT devices. Jung H. Kim, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems in MU’s College of Engineering, selected four commercially available CAT systems for the study based on system features, cost and installation procedure.
Phase one involved a controlled test to study how drivers react to the technology.
A major finding of phase one indicated the technology did not cause added stress or distractions to the driver. The data suggested CAT systems that provide both audio and visual warnings are recommended over systems that provide only audio warnings. The less sophisticated systems generated more false positives that could cause drivers to turn off safety features.
During phase two, the top performing audio and visual product was tested in a real world setting in collaboration with OATS, Inc. public transportation services.
The findings from phase two indicated that when alerts were active, warnings were reduced:
- 43 percent for lane departures
- 71 percent for following a vehicle too close
- 57 percent for forward collisions
Study results show three out of four drivers improved their driving when using CAT devices.
“The results of the overall study have conclusively shown that CAT systems are effective in improving driving behavior,” Kim says. “However, there is still room for improvement in terms of the effectiveness and the user acceptance level.”
“Traffic crashes are largely preventable, yet are a leading cause of work comp injuries,” said Jim Owen, MEM President and CEO. “Employers have an opportunity to save lives by implementing traffic safety programs and installing collision avoidance technology in company vehicles.”
MEM offers safety grants that policyholders can use to help fund the implementation of CAT devices in company vehicles. Crashes on and off the job have far-reaching financial and psychological effects on employees, their coworkers and families, and their employers. Check out the safe driving resources in our free library.