Belt Shift Interlock Delay/Deaccelerator with Learning Curve Software to Increase Seatbelt Usage on Commercial Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Transportation
Branch: N/A
Contract: DTRT57-11-C-10017
Agency Tracking Number: DTRT57-11-C-10017
Amount: $470,683.85
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solitcitation Year: 2007
Solitcitation Topic Code: 07FM1
Solitcitation Number: DTRT5707RSBIR
Small Business Information
The Tenik Group Inc.
6967 Lakemont Circle, West Bloomfield, MI, 48323-2071
Duns: 185766185
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeffrey Tenenbaum
 (248) 706-1528
Business Contact
 Jeffrey Tenenbaum
Title: President
Phone: (248) 706-1528
Research Institution
Various methods for increasing seat belt usage have been investigated over the last several years including visual and audible warnings currently installed in today’s vehicles. In spite of these attempts, FMCSA research has shown that drivers of about 59% of commercial motor vehicles (those weighing 10,000 pounds or more that operate in interstate commerce) buckle their safety belts as compared to about 82% of passenger vehicle drivers. Proposed methods for inhibiting vehicle drivability are out of the question for obvious safety and liability reasons. A more reasonable and subtle approach would be to directly alter driver behavior. A study currently underway by the Western Michigan University and the Tenik Group, Inc. through NHTSA at the DOT, used a yieldable accelerator pedal force resistance (back force) on the accelerator pedal when drivers who were not wearing their seatbelt exceeded a speed threshold (15 mph) to motivate them to fasten their seatbelt. When the driver fastened their seatbelt the backpressure on the accelerator pedal disappeared. The addition of “Learning Curve” software allows the criterion speed and force to be adapted to each individual’s seatbelt use pattern. This system offers the advantage of being completely transparent to drivers when they are backing or moving their vehicles since the system is not active at these slow speeds. This is a major concern for trucking companies that do not wish to add a disincentive for getting out of the vehicle to judge distance while backing.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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