Evaluation of Systems to Monitor Blind Areas Behind Trucks Used in Road Construction and Maintenance: Phase 1Author/Presenter: Ruff, Todd M.
The majority of fatalities that occur in road construction work zones in the United States involve a worker being struck by a piece of construction equipment or other vehicle. The Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation, is evaluating methods to decrease these accidents. One such method uses devices that assist equipment operators in monitoring blind areas around the equipment to prevent collisions with workers on foot or other objects. Several cameras and sensor systems are available for this application, and a study was conducted to evaluate these systems on various trucks used in road construction and maintenance. Tests were conducted using sanding trucks during the winter months, which allowed researchers to investigate the effectiveness and limitations of various technologies under the most extreme conditions. Tests were also conducted using dump trucks during the warmer months to study the effectiveness of the systems in highway work zones. Results show that many difficulties arise when using camera and sensor systems in cold, snowy climates. And, while the operation of these systems is more reliable during the warmer months, challenges still exist in using them on equipment in crowded work areas.