January 2005 Edition
We Turn the Spotlight On

Sysco Food Services of Atlantic Canada


While it comes as no surprise that traffic crashes increase significantly when darkness falls, imagine driving down the road night after night, never knowing when you might have to swerve to avoid hitting a moose. It's a nightly concern for Sysco drivers in Newfoundland, and Sysco Food Services of Atlantic Canada has invested in a solution.


Not so many years ago the use of thermal imaging was reserved for military defense operations, but in recent years advances in manufacturing have made it possible for thermal imaging to be used widely for public safety, security and industrial applications.


"It's battle tested, and proven reliable," says Kay Kitchens of L-3 Communications Infrared Products. "Our NIGHTDRIVERTM system allows motorists to see in the dark up to five times farther than regular headlights can reach, plus it lets you see past the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic, all of which gives you valuable time to react to dangers on the road."


In fact it can help drivers to avoid accidents altogether.


"At 60 miles per hour, normal headlights provide only 3.5 seconds to react. But with a thermal imaging product like NIGHTDRIVER you get up to 15 seconds to react to potential dangers, and considering all the things that 'go bump in the night' that could mean the difference between safety and disaster," says Kitchens.


What goes bump in the night for a driver in Newfoundland? - A moose.


"Night driving takes on a whole new set of hazards when you consider that our driver sees between four and six moose a night," says John Newman, Operations Manager for Sysco Food Services of Atlantic Canada. "The possibility of hitting a moose is an accident waiting to happen, which is why we've invested in NIGHTDRIVER thermal imaging equipment."


NIGHTDRIVER works by using a special camera that measures temperature differences emitted by everything in view. These measurements are translated and put together like a puzzle and projected on a display that is available just below the driver's line of sight for easy reference. It’s easy to get used to, and drivers check it often just as they would a rear view mirror.


It’s an additional source of protection and unlike a seatbelts and airbags which are outstanding safety devices after an accident has happened, NIGHTDRIVER is a safety device that actually helps a driver avoid the accident before it begins.


"Anything you can do to prevent hitting a moose is appreciated," says Newman. "Having NIGHTDRIVER on board is a vital part of protecting our drivers at night, and, most importantly, it saves lives." ¨