Less-than-truckload carrier Con-way Freight has installed several safety technologies in new trucks, including rollover stability, front collision warning with adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.

The technologies are included on nearly 1,300 new Freightliner Cascadia 2010-model tractors that Con-way Freight has put into service. The suite of new technologies also includes factory-installed in-dash AM/FM/Satellite radio units, which replace portable radios and are designed to minimize driver distraction.

Con-way invested just over $100 million for the new vehicles, $5.4 million of which went toward the new safety technologies. All three technologies are meant to reduce accident frequency and are aimed at prevention of the most common accident situations in which trucks are involved.

"Advanced technologies that have proven safety benefits hold great promise for making our highways safer," said Bill Graves, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations. "Con-way Freight's significant investment illustrates their leadership and commitment to further developing and testing these technologies."

The forward collision warning technology, developed by Meritor Wabco, uses adaptive cruise control to help a vehicle maintain a safe following distance and avoid rear-end collisions by braking as needed.

The AutoVue Lane Departure Warning system, developed by Iteris, monitors a vehicle's position relative to highway lane markings and sounds an alarm to alert the vehicle operator if they are unintentionally driving out of their lane.

Roll stability control, also developed by Meritor Wabco, senses driving conditions or vehicle performance tendencies that are consistent with a vehicle about to roll over, such as during hard cornering or change of direction.

The company began testing these and other technologies in February 2009 in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which managed the Department of Transportation-funded Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety System (IVBSS) program. Over the next 10 months, UMTRI, as program manager, conducted field testing and evaluation of a new, integrated crash warning system for commercial trucks. As a participant in the study, Con-way Freight purchased 10 Class 8 tractors equipped with the IVBSS suite of technologies. Eighteen Con-way Freight truck drivers operated the IVBSS-equipped trucks in regular commercial service out of the company's Detroit service center. Results of the study will be released this summer.

"With the anticipated release of FMCSA's Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 initiative and the potential for stricter safety regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies, Con-way Freight is proactively pursuing a high-tech approach to safety," said Bob Petrancosta, the company's vice president of safety. "We were very pleased to work with the FMCSA and UMTRI to test and validate these technologies over the past year. It confirmed what we initially believed - these are effective technologies in our operation that can provide real-world, lifesaving results."

See a video demonstration of the technologies below: