How Stellantis’ Emergency Vehicle Alert System is saving lives
One of the most dangerous calls a fire department can receive is an accident on a highway.
When first responders arrive on the scene, they not only have to care for the injured, but they also must protect themselves from passing motorists who often travel at high speeds and are possibly distracted by a variety of factors.
This was the case this past spring when the South Strabane Fire Department responded to an accident on I-70 in Pennsylvania. A motorist failed to change lanes as they approached the accident and struck a ladder truck protecting the scene. On board that 60,000-pound ladder truck was the department’s assistant chief Paul Winter, the son of South Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT president Larry Winter.
The driver of the vehicle was injured in the accident, and Winter escaped injury, but the incident might have been averted had the department’s vehicles been equipped with an emergency alert system that warns oncoming traffic that they are approaching emergency vehicles.
That is no longer the case after Larry Winter’s wife saw the story about the accident and learned about the HAAS Alert Safety Cloud platform, which sends out notifications to map applications, and the Emergency Vehicle Alert System (EVAS) feature installed in Stellantis’ award-winning Uconnect connected vehicle platform.
“She says, ‘what does something like that cost?’,” recalled Larry Winter, who told her the EVAS system cost $499. “Mama said, ‘Put ‘em on all of them’.”
Winter’s dealership covered the cost to purchase and maintain the HAAS devices in South Strabane’s Fire Department vehicles and five other local department’s vehicles. The devices are small black boxes and fit on a vehicle’s dashboard. When a first responder turns on the lights of their vehicle, a notification is sent to map applications and Stellantis vehicles equipped with the UConnect system.
“The beauty of these units is to keep everybody safe,” said Paul Winter, who added that not only does the motorist receiving the notification slow down, then traffic behind them will also slow as they approach emergency vehicles. “So not only does it keep the first responders safer, but it also keeps the motorists safe.”
More than 1.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep® brand vehicles on the road in the United States and Canada are equipped with the technology to give drivers an in-vehicle notification of an active fire truck, ambulance, or other nearby roadway hazards with the Emergency Vehicle Alert System (EVAS) feature of the Uconnect system. This is now a standard feature of Uconnect that keeps drivers of 2018 model-year and newer vehicles safely aware of the environment around them. EVAS also is an innovation that emerged from the Stellantis Star*Up program that nurtures and rewards employee innovation.
“The widespread deployment of EVAS in North America demonstrates how Stellantis is harnessing the power of V2X (vehicle-to-everything) connectivity and in-vehicle technology to make mobility safer for our customers,” said Yves Bonnefont, Stellantis chief software officer. “Care for our customers that is second to none in every market where we sell is the foundation of our transformation to a mobility tech company. We’re proud to be the first global automaker to make V2X digital alerting a standard safety feature for our connected customers, and we are continuously looking to expand its capabilities.”
“With connected services like EVAS we provide peace of mind, safety and comfort,” said Mamatha Chamarthi, head of global software business management. “It is one of many ways we deliver on our customers’ needs to ‘make my drive safer, make my life easier, make my drive more exciting.’”
Not only is having the support of South Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT important for the safety of motorists and first responders, but it also helps stretch the limited budgets of small fire departments where every dollar is carefully spent to test equipment, replace equipment when it reaches the end of its lifespan and training for personnel.
“South Hills CDJRF president Larry Winter’s push to equip his local fire department with HAAS units for Emergency Response vehicles is just one of the many ways that our dealers work to be involved in their communities,” said Phil Langley, Head of Network Development, Stellantis North America. “Efforts such as this one help create awareness among the public and our dealers that this technology exists and can help save lives.”
The goal for Winter, and other Stellantis dealers, is to keep motorists and first responders safe. According to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute there have been 27 emergency responder struck-by-vehicle fatalities this year.
“The cost is relatively minimal compared to what the benefit is,” Winter stated.