Manufacturers agree: Keeping drivers comfortable and engaged in their work means fleet managers should concentrate on the foundation of the truck—and that means spec’ing the chassis to keep drivers happy.
“We have found that fatigue plays a huge part in keeping drivers or operators engaged while on the job,” says Ryan Breezee, Kenworth vocational marketing manager. “That’s why we have gone to great lengths to design the quietest and most comfortable cab on the market with the T880 and W990 models available for vocational applications. The lower noise levels, premium seating and excellent suspension all add up to greatly reduce fatigue and enhanced productivity. The 2.1-meter wide Kenworth cab also is designed to be as intuitive and ergonomic as possible. This allows the driver to keep their attention on the road while operating a Kenworth.”
“[The chassis] plays a huge role,” adds International Truck’s director of severe service product marketing, Bruce Vasbinder. “At International, we design all of our vehicles with the ‘driver first’ mindset, which is all about creating vehicles with an optimized driver environment. We emphasize comfort and safety—from the layout of the gauges, placement of the mirrors, seating, multiplexed and easy to reach switches. Driver comfort and vehicle safety are significant design considerations.”
Tony Sablar, Peterbilt’s vocational market segment manager, says that while the chassis does play a big part in delivering a smooth ride, it must also keep the driver confident in his or her control of the vehicle. This means balancing the amount and types of information the driver has access to.
“Peterbilt places a lot of focus on keeping the driver informed in a safe, convenient, easy-to-comprehend manner,” Sabler says. “The more informed the driver is, the more comfortable they will be throughout the daily operation, but we also streamline the amount of information [the driver can see during operation], to not overwhelm the driver.”