Spending many hours behind the wheel every day, bus drivers often suffer strain in the shoulders, neck and arms. In order to reduce the risk of work-related injuries, last year Volvo Buses introduced Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS), which makes manoeuvring a bus considerably easier. Now a scientific study has been published that confirms the system’s positive effects.
The study carried out by VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Administration, examined muscle strain while driving both with and without VDS, and recorded how much the driver benefits from the system. In the tests, activity in the various muscle groups was measured in left turns, right turns, while negotiating a roundabout and when driving straight ahead. The results reveal that on average, VDS cuts muscular strain by 20 to 30%. For certain manoeuvres, it’s up to 70%.
“There’s no doubt that this type of system improves the driver’s working environment,” said Dr Anna Anund, associate professor and head of research at VTI. “Many drivers experience pain in their joints and muscles, and it is obvious that they benefit from a system of this sort,”
The study also showed that female drivers, who generally strain more muscles when manoeuvring a bus, benefit as much from VDS as male drivers do.
After the tests, all 20 drivers involved reported that they would benefit immensely from VDS in their everyday work and that VDS can reduce muscular pain, above all in the shoulders. “The longer the tests ran, the more positive the drivers were to the system,” said Anna. “This is something they really want.”
One year after its introduction, more than half of Volvo’s long-distance buses sold in Europe are fitted with VDS. From the autumn of 2017 the system will also be available on Volvo’s city and intercity buses.
“The VTI study confirms the positive effects of Volvo Dynamic Steering for drivers both on long-distance routes and in urban driving,” said Volvo Buses ergonomics expert Maria Gink Lövgren. “With the introduction of VDS on our city buses too, many more drivers will be able to handle tight cornering, roundabouts and other demanding manoeuvres in a far safer and more relaxed way.”