America’s Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America, is a national public outreach program led by a group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on our nation’s highways. American Trucking Associations (ATA), the voice of the trucking industry, created America’s Road Team in 1986 to reach out to the trucking industry and the motoring public.
ATA kicked off the 2011-2012 America’s Road Team with the selection of 18 Captains at a special event held at ATA headquarters in Arlington, Va., Jan. 9 to 11. The newly selected America’s Road Team Captains then traveled to Volvo’s New River Valley (NRV) facility in Dublin, Va., where every Volvo truck sold in the U.S. is assembled.
During a dedication ceremony at NRV, with the Road Team Captains looking on, Patrick Collignon, general manager of the plant, and Ron Huibers, Volvo senior vice president, sales and marketing, turned over the truck to Bill Graves, president and CEO of the ATA, and ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation in New Market, Md. The captains then learned about key features of the vehicle, including Volvo SCR , delivering a 5 percent or more fuel efficiency improvement and near-zero NOx and particulate emissions without the use of emissions credits, and three key safety and productivity technologies: Volvo I-Shift, Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) and Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC).
“With safety as a core value, Volvo Trucks is proud to be associated with the dedicated professional drivers that make up America’s Road Team, and to give them a powerful new tool for accomplishing their mission” Huibers said. “We’re extremely grateful to Bill Graves, Barbara Windsor and all of the captains for taking the time to visit our NRV plant, where we’re committed to setting a new standard for industrial production. We particularly enjoyed sharing with them all of the safety technologies built into our trucks – something we call safety by design – making a world of difference to truck drivers, their families and all motorists.”
“At ATA, we believe that education is the key to making our roads safer for everyone,” Graves said. “With Volvo Trucks’ ongoing support, we have been able to bring America’s Road Team programs across the country and positively affect countless lives. With the new Volvo VN 780, our drivers will be able to show how the technology in trucks today is providing additional safety and greater peace of mind.”
Volvo I-Shift is an intelligent transmission system that boosts driver productivity while reducing driver fatigue. Using microprocessors, Volvo I-Shift continuously monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque demand, weight and air resistance. With the engine and transmission in constant communication, I-Shift automatically selects the best gear for the engine.
“With I-Shift, the driver can concentrate on what matters most – other traffic and the road ahead – without worrying about being in the right gear on the right grade at the right time,” said Ed Saxman, Volvo’s powertrain product manager, who participated in the briefings at the plant.
Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) by Bendix is a full electronic stability program that assists the driver in maintaining control during emergency maneuvers and braking events, dramatically reducing the likelihood of a rollover, jackknife or loss of control.
“It was a pleasure talking to the America’s Road Team Captains about VEST and why it’s one of the most important advancements in truck safety,” said Frank Bio, Volvo product manager, who was also part of the NRV event. “VEST quickly and accurately detects a dangerous driving situation, and automatically reduces engine torque, applies the engine brake and activates the necessary wheel-end brakes faster than even the best driver can do.”
Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC) integrates the latest in advanced collision avoidance technology with a truck’s cruise control. Using radar sensors, VEC monitors vehicles moving in front of and to the side of the truck. With the ability to detect up to 32 objects within 500 feet, VEC alerts the driver to potential danger and even automatically slows the truck to avoid a collision.
“Highway safety demands the best from our drivers and the best from our trucks,” Huibers said. “We are excited to put Volvo’s proven safety technologies into the hands of the skilled and passionate drivers of America’s Road Team.”