Open Cut » Health and Safety
At least 25 fatalities have occurred at surface mines as a consequence of a haul truck colliding with another vehicle. In nine cases a haul truck was driven over a stationary light vehicle. Another eight fatalities have involved a collision with a light vehicle at an intersection. A common causal factor was the truck driver having an inaccurate understanding of the location and movements of other vehicles. The introduction of proximity advisory technologies has been proposed as a means of provide drivers with supplementary information regarding the proximity and movement of other vehicles. The information is communicated to the truck driver through auditory and visual interfaces.
A 5DT haul-truck simulator has previously been adapted as a unique research tool during project C24028. The aim of the previous project was to examine the consequences of different visual interfaces for driving behaviour when participants are presented with potential collision scenarios within the haul-truck simulator. The current project examines several additional issues. The first concerns the relative merits of providing single-stage or multi-stage auditory warnings. The second question concerns the potential benefits of reducing the incidence of “false positive” alarms by utilising an accurate prediction of potential collisions and only alarming when a genuine collision risk exists. The third question focussed on the consequences of providing a speech-based warning of such predicted collisions.
To examine these questions, 50 novice participants were randomly assigned to drive the simulator in one of five conditions: (1) control condition; (2) two-stage tone alerts triggered by proximity only; (3) three-stage tone alerts triggered by proximity only; (4) three-stage tone alert triggered by predicted collision potential (ie, no “false alarms”); and (5) speech alerts triggered by predicted collisions.
The previous project highlighted the importance of visual interface design for communicating proximity advisory information to truck drivers. Similarly, the results of this project demonstrate that the choice and design of auditory displays should also receive careful consideration. In particular, the provision of speech alerts rather than auditory tones may be beneficial.