The Influence of Technology in Enhancing Road Safety for Truck Drivers

Katherine McCallum
Apr 29, 2024
min read
Truck driver walking to truck in Australia

The Influence of Technology in Enhancing Road Safety for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatality on Australia’s roads. So, what are the risks that truck drivers face, and how do new innovations in technology help beat these odds?

What are the dangers for truckers?


We all know that driving for a long time can be incredibly tiring, and truck drivers are on the road for many hours at a time. This can potentially be combined with a lack of sleep, for example from sleeping in the cabin in noisy conditions or adjusting from daytime to nighttime shifts, compounding the issue even further. 

Studies have shown that driving while tired or sleep-deprived can be likened to having a BAV (blood alcohol volume) of 0.5% if awake for 17 hours or more, making it just as dangerous as drink-driving.


There are countless distractions that can get the better of truck drivers and lead to a lapse in concentration. These include eating while driving, especially when rest stops may be less frequent, adjusting their CB radio or navigation equipment, and reaching for things inside the cab. 

Weather conditions

When you are covering vast distances, you’re likely to encounter a wide range of weather conditions on your journey. Truck drivers need to look out for changing conditions, including changes in wind speed and direction, heavy rain, and even extreme temperatures.  

Uneven loads

If the cargo on board the truck is positioned unevenly or not properly secured in the trailer, then the truck may experience fishtailing when moving at speed. This can result in erratic movements, loss of control, and the potential for the truck to overturn. Cornering also has dangerous consequences, with the risk of the truck tipping over, potentially into further hazards on the side of the road. Uneven loads also place undue pressure on the tyres and brakes causing uneven traction and the potential for lockups. 

Other road users

Large trucks often have poor visibility from the cab, meaning that their drivers don’t have the same view of the road as other users. For example, a driver or cyclist coming up the side of the truck could be unseen in a blind spot, as well as cars and vehicles that are too close to the front of the cab. Other drivers may also be unaware of the slower maneuvering and braking time of such large vehicles and may make moves on the road that are all but impossible for the truck driver to avoid.

The trucking tech that’s changing the game

It’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some of the best technologies from the automotive and trucking sectors that are helping to save lives.

Semi-autonomous trucks and ADAS

The addition of Level 2 semi-autonomous driving features to trucks can help their drivers to be able to adapt to and react to the changing conditions on the road. Not to be confused with self-driving trucks with no driver at all behind the wheel, semi-autonomous vehicles require both the systems and the driver to work together.

Some examples of semi-autonomous safety features include those found in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as:

  • Blind spot information systems (BLIS), that help to detect hazards when changing lanes or parking up.
  • Cameras on the sides of the vehicle can be used in the lane departure warning system, which will alert the driver if the truck is drifting into another lane and may even provide corrective steering. 
  • Cameras and LiDAR systems on the front of the truck monitor for potential collisions.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) may be applied if the driver is unable to respond to a potential hazard or collision in time. 
  • Adaptive cruise control that anticipates congestion and changes in speed limits. 

It is predicted that if all fleets within Australia were equipped with ADAS technology including lane assist and automatic emergency braking, fatalities would be reduced by 25-40% and 35-50% respectively.

Driver monitoring systems

Driver monitoring systems not only help mitigate the risk of fatigue but also help fleet managers to be able to identify risks among their drivers and provide effective guidance and training.

The systems can check for signs of drowsiness by looking at various factors, including environmental ones like the time of day and the temperature, journey-related data such as the time spent driving and the number of turns made, and driver-related inputs like inactivity or abrupt movements of the wheel or brakes. 

These can also be paired with physical devices in the cab, such as a front-facing camera to be able to record the driver as they are making their journey and their behaviours behind the wheel, as well as bracelets or headbands designed to read various biodata like heart rate and posture. 

This data can then be refined using AI to gather insights into the whole fleet to pick up on common trends, or they can be looked at on a case-by-case basis as required. It has been shown that analysing driver behaviour by video monitoring and providing appropriate intervention can minimise the risk of collision by 30%.   

Vehicle monitoring systems and sensors

Just as important as checking driver behaviour is having a good understanding of how the truck itself is performing, especially on longer journeys and between maintenance cycles.

Sensors can be added to tyres and brake systems, measuring vibration, changes in temperature, and overall wear. The same can be said for the cab and its kingpin being secured correctly and if the load has shifted during travel.

Rather than having truck drivers manage and decipher this information on the road, instead the real-time data can be streamed directly to the fleet manager. This allows them to communicate with and intervene should they notice any issues that the driver needs to be aware of or where a fix needs to be made, whether immediately or at the next depot stop. 

Proactive rather than reactive practices like these can help to reduce the risk of potential accidents as well as improve operational efficiency and costs at the same time. 

V2X communication: the future of road safety?

Another up-and-coming solution in improving road safety for truck drivers is V2X communication. This is also known as vehicle-to-everything technology and involves the vehicle being connected to the infrastructure of its environment including other vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic signalling equipment. 

Data that can be shared through V2X communication includes speed data, potential hazards, location, and direction of travel, and this is done through various methods such as 5G, LTE, and WiFi. 

Most of this information is already collected by trucks and other vehicles for their own use through ADAS and other driver assistance systems. However, for this technology to be truly effective every vehicle on the road needs to be on board with sharing this technology between each other as well as the infrastructure being updated to be part of this interconnected network of information. 

If you want to understand more about the responsibilities and legal compliance surrounding truck road safety, our experts here at Smith’s Lawyers are more than happy to help. Get in touch with one of our trusted team today.

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