In 2013, PITT OHIO began rolling out collision mitigation technology into its fleet. Since that time, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based carrier has reduced the costs it incurs from rear-end accidents by more than 90%.
Today, nearly all of PITT OHIO’s 1,400 tractors are equipped with the Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles.
The carrier also specs Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brakes, starting in 2019, and SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS, while working closely with Bendix on driver and technician training.
Long recognized as an industry leader in safety, PITT OHIO attributes the reduced accident costs to its comprehensive safety program, with a special nod to the introduction of ADAS.
“The technology, as well as training the drivers on the technology, has made the biggest impact,” said Jeff Mercadante, vice president of safety at PITT OHIO. “In crucial situations, Wingman Fusion has given our drivers more time to react.”
Spec’ing for Safety
Founded in 1979, the family-owned company employs 1,900 drivers. In addition to its 1,400 tractors, PITT OHIO operates 2,200 trailers.
The carrier specs Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ – Bendix’s flagship driver assistance system – on its vehicles, as well as Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brakes with the Bendix® Splined Disc® rotor.
Bendix Wingman Fusion gathers input through radar, video, and a vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the data from sensors that are working together and not just in parallel. By creating a detailed and accurate picture from this information, Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction.
Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel.
Fusion is built on the foundational technology of the Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system. This enables it to help drivers avoid some additional crash situations, including rollovers, loss-of-control, and sideswipe crashes.
Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes provide shorter stopping distances and deliver greater reliability with more consistent stops, while also delivering ROI in the shop through longer friction life and quicker pad changes than drum brakes. In addition, air disc brakes virtually eliminate brake fade. This distinguishes them from drum brakes, which can fade during heavy stop-and-go traffic situations or during mountain descents – extending stopping distances as they heat up. The performance advantages of air disc brakes mean they provide better support to today’s advanced driver assistance systems.
The Training Advantage
PITT OHIO emphasizes the importance of training – for both drivers and technicians – in its safety program.
“Any time we roll out new technology, we want to make sure the drivers understand it very well,” Mercadante said, noting that Bendix’s in-depth training assistance – which includes driver training sessions and videos – is key in this education effort. “Also, every month, we share with each driver their safety numbers. We show them how the technology is helping them to avoid accidents – and helping us to be a safer fleet.”
For technician training, PITT OHIO also turns to Bendix, which continues to add training videos to the Bendix On-Line Brake School, upgrade its sell sheets, and advance its diagnostic software tool ACom® PRO™.
“We’re taking advantage of Bendix’s ongoing growth in that area to make sure our technicians are fully aware of the safety systems and understand how they operate,” Mercadante said. “Plus, Bendix is on-site. As one example, they conduct air disc brake technical sessions at all PITT OHIO shops.”
Partners in Safety
The carefully nurtured culture of safety at PITT OHIO is reflected in the safety awards the company wins consistently: The carrier has been named an American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Safe Fleet Award Winner 19 times, and they’re a seven-time recipient of the ATA President’s Trophy. PITT OHIO has also earned more than three dozen honors from trucking associations in six states.
PITT OHIO and Bendix value the long-time, trusted safety partnership between the companies.
“What Bendix contributes – from the technology they engineer and parts they produce to the help they provide in training our drivers and technicians – is integral to our safety effort,” Mercadante said. “The dramatically reduced cost of rear-end accidents that we’re experiencing is a testament to the effective way we work together.”
“Safety at PITT OHIO is an ongoing pursuit that requires partners who share their philosophy,” said Lance Hansen, Bendix vice president – aftermarket sales, fleet, service, and field operations. “We’re proud to be one of those partners. Our contribution – providing advanced technology, parts, training, knowledge, and expertise – is all part of our shared commitment to safety on the roads.”
Hansen noted that Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.