CDL-licensed drivers can showcase their safety skills at trade shows and special driver competitions. They'll back into tight alleys, parallel park, drive close to obstacles without touching them, and much more. The most widely publicized is the American Trucking Associations' National Championship — which takes place Aug. 18 – 22 this year in Pittsburgh — but there are many state and industry competitions, too. Photo: American Trucking Association

These are by no means the only electronic devices that improve truck safety. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) from Eaton can apply the engine retarder to maintain following distance. Meritor WABCO and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC recently introduced ACC that will apply service brakes. The way these innovations are presented will affect their acceptance by drivers.

Right now, you need to research what systems are available for any trucks you are considering purchasing. Decide what advanced safety systems you want, and plan on how to best introduce each to your drivers.

— Paul Abelson ( is a former director of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association, a board member of Truck Writers of North America, and active in the Society of Automotive Engineers.