Today, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) and Schneider (NYSE: SNDR), a premier provider of transportation, intermodal and logistics services, announced a collaboration that will make Schneider the first truckload carrier to conduct a trial deployment of lifesaving technology developed through the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program. DADSS is a public-private partnership between the world’s leading automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to invent, test, commercialize and deploy new alcohol detection technologies in vehicles.
Schneider is the first truckload carrier to work with the DADSS Program. An industry leader and innovator in truck safety technology, Schneider implemented speed limiters in the 1980s and has continued to be an early adopter of other safety technology such as stability control systems, electronic logging devices, collision mitigation systems and forward- and side-mounted video cameras.
“Safety comes first at Schneider, always, and we believe in going above and beyond industry standards. We look forward to the opportunity to pilot groundbreaking safety technology developed to help save lives,” said Schneider Vice President of Safety, Driver Training and Compliance Tom DiSalvi. “We know our team of professional drivers will embrace this technology because, just as with previous safety enhancements, they will be part of a solution that will make our highways safer.”
As part of this new trial deployment, Schneider will outfit eight of their cabs with the latest breath sensors in 2022, logging more than 100,000 sensor miles for each vehicle outfitted, for a collective total of almost one million miles. The pilot will help refine the technology by increasing the stress that the system is put under on the road, exponentially increasing the number of miles driven, and exposing the system to new drivers and a wider range of environmental conditions — all key to the DADSS Program’s quest to commercialize fully passive vehicle-integrated breath technology.
The collaboration will be carried out through the Driven to Protect Initiative with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Since 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been helping to test in-vehicle alcohol detection technology that will determine if a driver is impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the applicable legal limit in the Commonwealth — and prevent the vehicle from moving.
“As a national leader in safety innovation, a collaboration with Schneider is ideal for helping expand the DADSS Program’s on-road testing, and we look forward to putting the breath system through hundreds of thousands of real-world operating miles as part of this trial deployment.” said Rob Strassburger, President and CEO of ACTS. “This wouldn’t be possible without the support we’ve received from Virginia — the first state to step forward and conduct in-vehicle test trials on its roads. Because of their dedication to technology and innovation, the DADSS breath system has gone from an early protype to a viable safety feature for all vehicles in the future.”
“Virginians should be proud of our state’s leadership in public safety and technology innovation,” said Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “The progress we have made since 2018 has advanced this game-changing anti-drunk driving technology, and I am excited to see how this new partnership will bring the technology one step closer to saving countless lives on our roadways.”
The effort builds upon the Virginia DMV’s ongoing partnership with Virginia-based James River Transportation (JRT), which was the first time the breath sensors were tested as part of in-vehicle, on-road test trials involving light passenger vehicles. To date, JRT vehicles have driven over 77,754 miles with the sensors installed, run the sensors for more than 15,020 hours and collected more than 98,472 breath samples from participating drivers.
It also builds on a recent announcement by ACTS that the first product has come out of the DADSS research lab and is being made available for open licensing for use in commercial vehicles. This first-generation breath system will be used by fleet operators implementing a zero-tolerance alcohol policy for their drivers. Additional product updates are planned, with a goal of releasing a new product update every 18 months over the next 4 years. A consumer version of the breath system is expected by 2024 and a touch system by 2025.
Last month, Congress demonstrated its commitment to advanced technology solutions by including them in the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which lays out a process for deploying advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology. The DADSS technology suite remains widely accepted as the most promising and expedient pathway to prevent drunk driving fatalities on a large scale.
According to a study from IIHS, when widely deployed in all vehicles, such an alcohol detection system could help eliminate the number one cause of fatalities on U.S. roadways and save more than 9,000 lives each year.
For more information about the DADSS Program, visit dadss.org. For more information about the Driven to Protect program in Virginia, visit DrivenToProtectVA.org.