Today’s blog is regarding the many safety features and systems that are being used on today’s automobiles and trucks.

Many of these systems such as “spring brakes,” have been used for many years. The simple spring brake applies the brakes automatically should you lose air pressure on your truck. Other basic items used over the years are a fire extinguisher, reflective triangles or flares and tire chains in case you need them in wintry weather conditions. These are just examples of some of the basics, and over the years many more items for safety have been added to our automobiles and trucks. Newer features added are anti-lock brakes, stability control system, roll over protection systems, and collision mitigation devices. The position many drivers take is that these systems are trying to replace good driver skills. It’s my opinion that nothing could be further from the truth. I feel that the most important piece of safety equipment in any vehicle is always the driver.

Let’s take a look at some other safety devices in a different mode of transportation. Specifically, let's talk about large ships. Large ships have numerous safety components. The simplest being life jackets followed by life boats, double hauls, and water tight compartments. All of these features are great if you encounter a problem on the water however it’s best when a ship gets retired and none of these systems ever had to be used in distress. Once again, the ship’s captain, crew and maintenance practices can go a long way towards making sure none of these back up plans or safety nets are ever needed. The ultimate goal of a ship’s owner is to make sure they never redeem their investment in life rafts, and the ship is scrapped at the end of a long and useful lifespan.

The same goals apply when we talk about our trucks. The ultimate goal once again is for a truck to complete its life on the road without ever engaging any of the safety systems and technologies. All of these systems should be used as a safety net, and not as a replacement for quality training of a good driver. In a future blog, I’ll go over the various types of safety technology systems to take a look at the subject in more detail.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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