Wireless communication has the potential to help private fleets as well as common carriers in the area of accident reconstruction. Brian McLaughlin, marketing vice president for PeopleNet, explains how it works.
"Based on a sudden acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle event, or on a driver hitting a button, a wireless system can capture a snapshot of data, second-by-second," McLaughlin says.
Captured are key data components off the engine which enable the telling — up to 120 seconds prior to the event and up to 30 seconds after — what direction the vehicle was going, as well as what was happening with the throttle, clutch, brakes, cruise control and speed.
Fleets are using this technology to protect themselves in the courtroom, McLaughlin points out. "With an accident involving a truck, the first reaction is to blame the truck driver. When you look at the statistics, a very small percentage of accidents involving a truck are actually the fault of a truck driver. The reality comes down to what the insurance policy is and how much money you have, and in most cases it ends up with a settlement," he says.
This technology can provide a fleet the ammunition it needs to demonstrate that its driver was not at fault, McLaughlin notes. "It's not really meant to govern drivers as much as to give fleets a powerful tool to help in a court of law in case of an accident."