In Avesta, Sweden, basic industries like iron and steel mining have long been an essential part of the economy. And for more than 60 years, Ernsts Express haulage company has helped keep those industries running by transporting basic materials like steel, gases and grains. Today, the hauler has 170 employees and drives a fleet of around 80 trucks, with customers including companies like Linde AG, SSAB, Outokumpu Abp and Boliden.
As experienced transporters of hazardous goods, Ernsts Express are not ones to take road safety lightly. Roger Blom, CEO of Ernsts Express, explains why safe transports will always be a top priority:
“When transporting hazardous goods, accidents can have serious consequences. For example, if some of the goods leak into water, it could become contaminated and potentially harming to both people and the environment.”
But when your office is the cab of a truck, road safety also becomes a work environment issue. This further motivates Ernsts Express to follow a proactive strategy for preventing accidents and making sure their vehicles are equipped with available safety systems. They were also early adopters of interlock devices, which have been installed in their vehicles for the last 20 years.
For haulage companies specializing in long transports, it’s common practice for drivers to work in shifts. Ernsts Express, with some vehicles on the road for 24 hours a day, are no exception. And after more than half a century in the industry, they are well aware of the fact that drivers who work night shifts become more prone to drowsiness. But in recent years, another threat to road safety has gotten harder and harder to ignore: the smartphone.
“Our work is currently focused on preventing driver drowsiness and distraction, and especially distraction connected to smartphones. We have tested several different systems focusing on distraction, but what I think is unique about Smart Eye’s system is its ability to detect both distraction and drowsiness.”
It was after talking to customer Linde AG, as well as Ernsts Express’s insurance company, that Roger Blom picked up the phone and called Smart Eye, proposing a field test. And by early November, Smart Eye’s technology was installed in one of Ernsts Express trucks.Over the course of one moth, four drivers from Ernsts Express will test the system in real-life settings and situations. Based on this research, Smart Eye and Ernsts Express will work together to find the best solution for not just detecting driver distraction, but taking action to prevent it. Roger Blom believes the tests could bring Ernsts Express one important step closer to their goal of becoming Sweden’s safest haulage company.
“Driver distraction and drowsiness are among what we consider to be the biggest road safety risk today. But I think our idea of running field tests has been well received by Smart Eye, and I’m eagerly anticipating the test results. If the system is able to eliminate the risks of driver drowsiness and distraction, then I see Smart Eye’s solution as the future standard in Ernsts Express’s vehicles.”