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Volvo Trucks' Contribution To Traffic Safety

After the unacceptable high numbers of road fatalities in Egypt we believe it's about time that the Egyptian government as well as the automotive companies in Cairo must take immediate action. Volvo already started taking action in order to reduce the numbers of accidents caused by fatigue and inattentiveness.

Fatigue and inattentiveness, as well as alcohol, are the most common causes of traffic accidents. With this in mind, today the Swedish government approved a request from Volvo Trucks for special permission to drive on public roads with tired drivers. This decision means that Volvo’s work with a safety system that alert tired drivers can enter its final phase.

Research shows that driver fatigue is the cause of 20% or more of the accidents that occur in traffic. This fact is a driving force behind Volvo Trucks’ development of new safety functions for trucks. We believe In Egypt and the Middle East this percentage is much higher.

“Our request for an exemption from normal traffic regulations is part of our development of technical systems that detect and warn a driver of fatigue and inattentiveness in traffic. The objective is to make these safety systems available in our trucks,” says Lars-G?ran L?wenadler, Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.

The safety function that Volvo Trucks would now like to test is based on a system that monitors the way in which the driver operates the vehicle. Tests have already shown that if the driver becomes inattentive, the vehicle’s pattern of movement changes. This movement change is registered by the truck’s safety system and the driver will be alerted.

Lars-G?ran L?wenadler continues, “The system has reached a stage where all that remains to be done is a final check. The point is to provide a warning at the right moment, but not unnecessarily. In order for the tests to be as credible and as realistic as possible, we would like to drive on actual roads as there are simply no test tracks that are adequate enough.”

One prerequisite for special permission for testing is that the tests currently being planned are conducted with rigorous safety measures. Driving will be done on specially selected sections of roads that are dual carriageways and, for additional safety; there will be two drivers in each vehicle.

“The tired driver will be backed-up by a driver who is rested and alert and who can quickly take control of the vehicle. In addition, there will be test leader in the cab who will monitor the entire test drive. The truck will also be clearly marked with rotating warning lamps and will be followed by a car that will alert other motorists that a test is underway,” Lars-G?ran L?wenadler concluded.

Authorisation to conduct the testing applies to selected sections of the E6 motorway and National highway 40. The final sections of the roads to be used will be decided at the time each test is conducted in consultation with the regional office of the Swedish National Road Administration and local police authorities.

It is worth mentioning that safety features resulting from Volvo Trucks’ development work and which are already available on today’s trucks include among others 'Lane Keeping Support', which is a system that registers traffic lane marking lines, monitors the vehicle’s position and alerts the driver if the vehicle is moving laterally and is about to leave the lane in which it is traveling.

Also available is the 'Adaptive Cruise Control', which is a radar-controlled cruise control system that helps ensure that the truck maintains the proper distance to the vehicle ahead. A time interval chosen by the driver is automatically kept constant by the engine and brake management systems.
In addition to that Volvo Trucks are also equipped with ESP, which is a stability control system for tractor-trailer rigs that applies the brakes to the tractor’s wheels individually if there is a risk of a roll-over or skidding and which intervenes if the driver is about to lose control of the vehicle.

I believe it is about time that the Egyptian government and other Middle Eastern governments should use the knowledge and safety features developed by Volvo and other manufacturers in order to start setting up passive and active safety specification for any imported or locally-assembled trucks and passenger car, similar to the ones available in the Volvo Trucks

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