Spec’ing trucks for driver comfort provides a double payoff by helping fleets recruit and retain talented drivers while enhancing resale value.
“High driver turnover rates and the difficulty of finding new drivers means that fleets have a strong incentive to provide a comfortable driving experience in their trucks,” says Gary Moore, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “Features that appeal to drivers also help boost a truck’s resale value in the long-term.”
Drivers spend a lot of seat time, so some of the leading comfort features for spec’ing consideration are found right in the cab, including seats, lighting, instrument panel layout, noise levels, and interior trim package.
“For starters, spec’ing a good seat with adjustable lumbar support, back angle and seat travel goes a long way toward providing driver comfort,” says Moore. “For example, Kenworth’s Air Cushion Premium Plus seats are orthopedically sculpted, fully adjustable for lateral and lumbar support, reclinable, and available with arm rests.”
Trucks spec’d with superior in-cab lighting provide better ergonomics for drivers. “Kenworth now offers world-class lighting as standard on its new 2006 model T600, T800, W900 and C500,” according to Moore. “The driver and passenger seats both have a dome light and task light mounted over their door, a dome lamp is on the rear headliner, and under-dash, red lens lighting reduces glare from the floor.”
The instrument panel layout is another important ergonomics consideration. “Everything on the panel should be visible and within easy reach,” Moore says. “Kenworth’s new, visually appealing instrumentation panel features a new speedometer and tachometer cluster accompanied by large, two-inch diameter gauges. LED back-lighting in the face plate and pointers makes it easier to read gauges and see warning lights. Larger dash rocker switches also have LED indicator lights.”
Drivers enjoy the benefits offered by a quiet cab environment. “Noise can be fatiguing to a driver on a long haul, so a quieter cab is better,” Moore offers. “Kenworth achieved a 20 per cent, or one full decibel, reduction in noise levels in its 2006 Class 8 models by adding special materials in key areas.”
Spec’ing an interior package that’s comfortable and functional is another plus for drivers.
“Kenworth’s Diamond and Splendor packages provide styling and a touch of luxury that appeal to drivers,” Moore says. “They’re also practical. For instance, Kenworth’s new durable dash top, made of a Recticel polyurethane material used in luxury cars, reduces sun glare and windshield reflections.”
After selecting cab interior features, don’t forget the sleeper specs. Fleets need to carefully balance the particular needs of their application and the comfort of their drivers in choosing the sleeper. Drivers usually prefer easy sleeper access, ample stand-up room and storage space, and a good, large mattress. Kenworth’s AeroCab sleeper line provides all of these comfort items and many more amenities that help produce a restful environment.
For more information, visit www.kenwirth.com