Anyone behind the wheel of a truck knows that driving into bad weather such as snow, sleet and ice increases the risk of an accident and truck damage, not to mention personal safety.
A revolutionary new smartphone app is now being tested that could soon help truck drivers radically decrease road accidents caused by adverse weather by avoiding it all together.
SIREN, created specifically for truckers, is a quick-thinking weather-tracking application which automatically alerts dispatchers of adverse weather conditions and provides up-to-date alternate routes.
“There are no other applications that monitor weather conditions in relation to driving in real time for specific drivers,” said team member and developer Drew Knox.
Made up of former and current computer-science students from Oklahoma University (OU), the team behind SIREN analyzed 30 years of historical US weather data to figure out which roads had greater accident potential for drivers.
Their findings have startling implications for truckers. They found that adverse weather caused about 25 percent of trucking accidents and $16 billion of resulting damage each year. That could have been reduced or avoided had truckers been using SIREN, Knox said.
They also found that one in 24 truckers will get in a weather-related accident each year, and that each accident costs about $132,00 on average. Their target companies reported a conservative average of $5.5 million in expenses each year.
“We found that there actually may be a lot more weather-related accidents [than officially reported],” Knox said. “It’s been a huge problem for truckers.”
The team learned that many trucking companies, including both truckers and dispatchers, rely on local weather radar to guess when travel routes will be safe, Knox said. Thanks to SIREN, truckers won’t have to guess anymore.
Although the app will initially be rolled out as a tool for dispatchers, the team plans on soon making it available to the typical driver.