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Winning over truckers who manipulate vehicle safety tech

The speaker at a safety systems seminar during Atlanta's annual Technology & Maintenance Council has addressed a major issue of which some drivers in North Carolina may not be aware: namely, the issue of truckers manipulating or disabling the safety technology in their trucks. By doing this, they can engage in negligent actions like distracted or drowsy driving and, as long as an accident does not occur, get away with it.

For example, on YouTube, truckers have accessed videos how to disconnect in-cab cameras and steering-angle sensors. Others may slide a business card behind the camera. Truckers have also learned how to render the lane departure switch inoperable by pushing in the button and sticking in a piece of paper. Some individuals will disable the radar by removing the cover and placing aluminum foil on it. Other truckers unplug the speakers and plug them in again when reaching the shop.

The speaker at the seminar, who is regional director of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, said that fleet owners cannot simply install the safety tech. They must introduce it to their employees and explain the limitations. Speed-sign recognition, for example, does not apply the brakes like some truckers think it does.

Drivers should be heard when they claim that there is a problem with the technology. Technicians should be the interface between drivers and their managers, troubleshooting and repairing systems about which the drivers complain.

Truckers who wish to drive in negligent ways will continue to find ways to do so. When they are to blame for an 18-wheeler accident, their employer will likely find itself facing a claim from the victim. Or, if a malfunctioning truck part was directly involved in a crash, the victim may sue the parts manufacturer. Whatever the nature of the claim, filing it may go a lot more smoothly with a lawyer. It starts with a case evaluation.

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