Tests with tired drivers increase traffic safety

Today, the Swedish government approved a request for special permission to drive on public roadways with fatigued drivers. This decision means that Volvo Trucks’ work with a safety system that alerts tired drivers can enter the final phase. Fatigue and inattentiveness, as well as alcohol, are the most common causes of traffic accidents.
image text: Test with tired drivers increase traffic safety

Research shows that driver fatigue is the cause of 20% or more of the accidents that occur in traffic. This fact is a driving force behind Volvo Trucks’ development of new safety functions for trucks.
 “Our request for an exemption from normal traffic regulations is part of our development of technical systems that detect and warn a driver of fatigue and inattentiveness in traffic. The objective is to make these safety systems available in our trucks,” says Lars-Göran Löwenadler, Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.


The safety function that Volvo Trucks would now like to test is based on a system that monitors the way in which the driver operates the vehicle. If the driver becomes inattentive, the vehicle’s pattern of movement changes. This is registered by the system and the driver is alerted.

“The system has reached a stage where all that remains to be done is a final check. The point is to provide a warning at the right moment but not unnecessarily. In order for the tests to be as credible and realistic as possible, we would like to drive on actual roads. There are simply no test tracks that are adequate,” Lars-Göran Löwenadler continues.

One prerequisite for special permission for testing is that the tests currently being planned are conducted with rigorous safety measures. Driving will be done on specially selected sections of roads that are dual carriageways and there will be two drivers in each vehicle.

 “The fatigued driver will be backed-up by a driver who is rested and alert and who can quickly take control of the vehicle. In addition, there will be test leader in the cab who will monitor the entire test drive. The truck will also be clearly marked with rotating warning lamps and will be followed by a car that alerts other motorists that a test is underway”.

Authorisation to conduct the testing applies to selected sections of the E6 motorway and National highway 40. The final sections of the roads to be used will be decided at the time each test is conducted in consultation with the regional office of the Swedish National Road Administration and local police authorities.

February 28, 2008

For additional information, please contact:

Lennart Pilskog, +46 703 183 422, e-mail: lennart.pilskog@volvo.com

Lars-Göran Löwenadler, phone +46 31 322 28 93,  e-mail: lars-goran.lowenadler@volvo.com

Safety features resulting from Volvo Trucks’ development work and which are already available on today’s trucks include:

Lane Keeping Support: a system that registers traffic lane marking lines, monitors the vehicle’s position and alerts the driver if the vehicle is moving laterally and is about to leave the lane in which it is travelling.

Adaptive Cruise Control: a radar-controlled cruise control system that helps ensure that the truck maintains the proper distance to the vehicle ahead. A time interval chosen by the driver is automatically kept constant by the engine and brake management systems.

ESP: a stability control system for tractor-trailer rigs that applies the brakes to the tractor’s wheels individually if there is a risk of a roll-over or skidding and which intervenes if the driver is about to lose control of the vehicle.

Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and business-oriented customers. The company offers a full range of medium to heavy-duty trucks, with an extensive global network of 3,000 service points in more than 130 countries. In 2007 Volvo Trucks sold more than 100,000 trucks worldwide. Volvo Trucks is a part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, and aerospace components and services. The Group also provides a full range of financing services.