With the Fatal Accident Inquiry questioning whether the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy was preventable, vehicle safety system provider Vision Techniques have completed trials of a controlled braking system at Craven Council in Skipton.
The report of the bin lorry tragedy released by Sheriff John Beckett was clear on how the majority of responsibility fell to driver Harry Clarke, but continued by highlighting a need for Advanced Emergency Braking Systems.
Since the events in Glasgow, Blackburn based vehicle safety provider Vision Techniques has been quietly developing a viable retrofit option for the marketplace designed to bring a vehicle to a controlled stop in the case of a driver losing control.
“We call it VT StopSafe, effectively the system reduces the vehicle’s speed while simultaneously bringing it to a controlled stop using the braking system. The system is activated using a secure emergency button installed to the vehicle dashboard, allowing the crew to react to an emergency situation.”
To build a system that would prevent the Glasgow tragedy from ever happening again needed the combined contribution of both council and manufacturer, leading to a better understanding of what the industry needs. Skipton based Craven Council have worked with Vision Techniques in the past and Workshop manager Steve Parkinson was passionate to help find a way of making the technology viable for the municipal industry.
“STOPSAFE ALLOWS THE CREW TO REACT TO AN EMERGENCY SITUATION”
“Every council in the country was shocked by the events in Glasgow. If a driver loses control of the vehicle it’s reassuring to know that equipment like this can step in to prevent a potential disaster. ”
This AEBS system has been tested at Craven Council in a controlled environment, where their test bin lorry came to a controlled stop at speeds of 45mph when the emergency button was pressed.
The company is the only ancillary systems provider to manufacturer any direct solution to the problem of out-of-control vehicles and plan to offer the system to every council in the country. Vision Techniques have made it clear that this solution has been developed to work universally across any manufacturer’s vehicle and is suitable for both new build and retrofit.
Understandably, technology is not the ‘easy fix’ to preventing tragedy, however it cannot be ignored that an advanced braking system coupled with appropriate training could have made a huge difference when driver Harry Clarke lost control of his vehicle last year. Giving the crew the ability to prevent a catastrophe could encourage other councils to try AEBS systems like this in the future.