Truckload carrier Schneider National plans to transform a substantial portion of its fleet by the end of 2012. The company has invested in 3,000 new 2012 and 2013 tractors, which are primarily manufactured by Freightliner, with the aim of replacing one-third of its 10,000 trucks, at a rate of 75 per week.
The new vehicles will include the OnGuard collision mitigation system, which assists drivers in recognizing and responding to potentially dangerous driving scenarios that could lead to a rear-end collision. OnGuard features a forward-looking radar sensor that monitors the distance, speed and deceleration of a vehicle ahead and alerts the driver to take appropriate action through an in-cab display.
“Our drivers are trained to keep a safe following distance of 7 seconds on dry pavement and at least 14 seconds on wet or snowy roads,” explains Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety and security at Schneider National, “but if a situation should arise where the gap between our truck and the vehicle in front closes to less than 3.6 seconds, a warning will sound, allowing the driver to take the necessary steps to regain a safe cushion.” If the driver fails to take appropriate action, the system will deactivate the cruise control, depower the engine and even apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
In addition, the engine inside each new tractor meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emission requirements. The tractors will also have aerodynamic features that reduce drag, including wheel covers. Most will have farings that have been redesigned to optimize fuel efficiency and improve mileage per gallon, as well as predictive cruise control. Annually, the new trucks will save almost 2 million gallons of fuel and over 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.