Schneider National Buying 3,000 New Tractors

The carrier is replacing one-third of its fleet with tractors coming right off the production line this year at a rate of 75 per week. They will save fuel, cut emissions, and help drivers avoid rear-end collisions.

Green Bay, Wis.-based truckload carrier Schneider National announced May 2 that it is transforming its tractor fleet this year, replacing 3,000 of the 10,000+ trucks it owns with new 2012 and 2013 tractors. Most are made by Freightliner, and they are being delivered to Schneider National right off the production line at a rate of 75 per week, the carrier said.

The company's release said they are equipped with the OnGuard™ collision mitigation system, described as a forward-looking radar sensor that monitors the distance, speed, and deceleration of a vehicle ahead and alerts the driver to take appropriate action through an in-cab display.

"Safety first and always is our number-one core value, which means we always look for new ways to prevent crashes that could endanger our drivers and the motoring public," said Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety and security at Schneider National. "OnGuard certainly meets that goal. Our drivers are trained to keep a safe following distance of seven seconds on dry pavement and at least 14 seconds on wet or snowy roads, but if a situation should arise where the gap between our truck and the vehicle in front closes to less than 3.6 seconds, a warning will sound, allowing the driver to take the necessary steps to regain a safe cushion."

If the driver does not take appropriate action, the system will deactivate the cruise control, depower the engine, and even apply the brakes.

WABCO Holdings Inc., based in Brussels, Belgium, introduced the OnGuard system in 2008. Its newest generation is OnGuardPLUS, which the manufacturer says is the industry's first advanced emergency braking system (AEBS). It will reduce the risk of colliding with moving and decelerating vehicles that come to a standstill; the system will fully apply the brakes in imminent collision situations and will give the driver acoustic, visual, and haptic warnings. Repeated tests have proven it can bring a truck to a complete stop, according to WABCO.

Hyundai Motor Company has agreed to equip trucks with OnGuardPLUS, and WABCO announced in February that it had entered a long-term agreement to supply more than 50,000 OnGuardPLUS systems annually to the European plants of a global manufacturer of commercial vehicles. (The name of the manufacturer wasn't disclosed.) The European Union is expected to make advanced emergency braking systems mandatory on new heavy commercial vehicles in all 27 EU member countries starting in November 2013, and AEBS "is also expected to become mandatory in up to 29 other countries worldwide ... per the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's Regulation 13 for braking," according to the company.

Schneider National's release said the engines in its new tractors meet EPA's 2010 emission requirements. "In addition, the tractors will have aerodynamic features that reduce drag, including wheel covers. Most will have farings that have been redesigned to optimize fuel efficiency and improve mileage per gallon, as well as Predictive Cruise Control. These features strengthen Schneider's stance as an industry leader and pioneer in sustainable practices, and it further shrinks Schneider's environmental footprint. Annually, the new trucks will save almost 2 million gallons of fuel and over 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions," it stated.

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