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November 23, 2020 5:00 PM, EST

Big Fleets to Work Together on Enhancing Driver Visibility in Cab

Truck driver checks windshield wiperA truck driver checks a windshield wiper. Together for Safer Roads President David Braunstein called driver visibility an "underappreciated aspect of road safety." (welcomia/Getty Images)

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Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo Inc., Republic Services and nongovernmental organization Together for Safer Roads announced a design challenge to improve fleet safety and save lives, calling the project the Truck of the Future.

It is intended to identify and test innovative and cost-effective solutions to eliminate collisions between heavy-duty vehicle operators and other road users, whom the coalition said are especially vulnerable.

In a brainstorming session, TSR convened safety experts from some of the world’s largest fleets and identified driver visibility issues as a high priority, according to Brooklyn, N.Y.-based TSR.

TSR President David Braunstein

Braunstein

“This project is our call to arms regarding an underappreciated aspect of road safety. After all, drivers cannot react to what they cannot see or sense,” TSR President David Braunstein said.

TSR and its collaborators seek to partner with innovative startups with a focus on commercially viable, scalable emerging technology.

“There are many interventions that can address driver visibility issues — improved cab designs, collision avoidance systems and better infrastructure to name a few,” Cormac Gilligan, vice president of global environment, health and safety at PepsiCo, said in a release. “PepsiCo is pleased to be a part of a collective solution.”

Cormac Gilligan, vice president of global environment, health and safety at PepsiCo

Gilligan

PepsiCo ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

The Truck of the Future effort underscores the project members’ commitment to the Stockholm Declaration (the first world conference to make the environment a major issue), and reaffirmation of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety plan (through 2030), according to TSR.

Other partners and advisors on the project include UPS Inc., the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services that oversees the city’s fleet, and experts from leading truck safety research agencies.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies.

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“At AB InBev, we believe that multistakeholder approaches are key to tackling road safety effectively,” said Joshua Girard, global director of safety at AB InBev. “The inclusion of our technology incubator in this unique initiative allows us to solve big business challenges with innovation and creativity.”

Anheuser-Busch Cos. ranks No. 61 on the TT Top 100 list of private carriers.

Republic Services, a waste collection provider, is a Fortune 500 company with net income of $260 million on revenue of $2.6 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30. It operates across 41 states.

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Republic is the right kind of company to be innovating and to be pushing innovation onto the market, Republic Services CEO Donald Slager said separately during the company’s latest earnings call. “So look, we’re the seventh-largest vocational fleet in the nation. When you get there, those benefits accrue in large ways because we’ve got 16,000 trucks on the street every day.”

Jim Olson, vice president of safety at Republic Services, said the organization is constantly evaluating new technologies to help drivers stay safe behind the wheel.

“Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in video and sensor technology,” he said. “We are excited to be part of the core focus team for the Truck of the Future project and the potential for fleet innovation.”

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