Buses are used by millions of commuters every year in the UK, carrying people through heavily populated areas and busy roads at all times of the day. As a result, the role of the driver comes with real responsibility. One of the primary responsibilities for any driver is to ensure the safety of his passengers. While this is achieved in the majority of journeys, there is always the small chance that something, whether through human error or a technical malfunction, could happen.
Brake failure: The impact on Britain’s roads
Over the course of this year there have been a number of accidents reported in the news, in which bus passengers became victim due to brake failure. In April, a driver lost control of a runaway ‘Boris Bus’ as it hurtled along a Chelsea street at 40mph, hitting the back of a car. The engine isolator and brakes were thought to be completely dead, and the driver feared the bus would flip if he attempted to pull the handbrake. Following this incident, safety fears have been raised over up to 800 buses across the UK due to a range of incidents that have occurred.
Of course, compliance checks are key to keeping public transport safe. In particular, VOSA is keen to improve and enforce the safety of commercial vehicles, like buses, by making checking for mechanical defects part of its enforcement. This includes mechanical issues such as faulty brakes.
Faulty brakes in public transport: The statistics
Research, conducted by VOSA, has suggested faulty brakes are a real issue in public transport and something that needs new action. In a 2003/4 report, more than one in thirteen buses failed their license test due to a problem with their brakes. This statistic is particularly worrying given the fact that these vehicles are prepared for their annual test by their operators, and so should be artificially low – as many brake issues would be rectified pre-test. It begs the question, how many buses are on today’s roads with mechanical defects that haven’t been checked or resolved?
Technology designed to ensure brake safety
AEB, and products like VT BrakeSafe, were built for scenarios and industries like these. Even in poor management and maintenance of vehicles, AEB and VT BrakeSafe would save lives.
VT BrakeSafe is the handbrake failsafe system that automatically applies the brake if the driver forgets. The product has been designed to work whether the ignition is on, or off, protecting drivers, other roads users and passengers whatever the situation.
Likewise, AEB also prevents collisions, reducing crash damage on our roads. Through the application of maximum or partial brake force, AEB helps vehicles halt should their brakes fail.
For more information about our newest product, VT BrakeSafe, get in contact with the Vision Techniques team today on 08452 875 579. We’ll also be able to talk you through a wide range of products suited to the bus and coach industry, including VT TurnSafe, for cyclist safety, VT Banksman, our high-tech reversing aid, and VT Ident, for preventing unauthorised access to your vehicle.
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