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London Bus Runaway was ‘easily preventable’ with BrakeSafe

Posted on 23rd Aug, 2017 by Dominic Benabda

A rollaway in London city centre involving a London double-decker bus could have been prevented with new technology that automatically applies the handbrake.

The nationally reported incident took place on Sunday 20th August at 4.30am, which luckily meant there was only one passenger on board. Video evidence was captured from a taxi dashboard cam- era which shows the black cab having to stop as the driverless bus rolls across a junction. The driver of the bus is seen running to the steering wheel and applying the handbrake, being only 20 feet away from the pavement in the middle of the junction.

“The footage was quite shocking to watch as the vehicle is being used to transport the public,” said Steve Hurd, National Sales Manager at Vision Techniques.

“Imagine if this had happened during rush hour; the risk of death, injury and property damage would have caused a national disaster.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We have asked the bus operator, Go Ahead, to urgently investigate this footage and to report back to us.”

These incidents continue to affect bus operators around the country with drivers forgetting to apply the handbrake when exiting the vehicle. Until recently, drivers would only receive audible warnings to apply the handbrake.

Safety system developer Vision Techniques recently introduced a failsafe handbrake system called BrakeSafe designed to prevent runaways.

london runaway bus

BrakeSafe automatically applies the vehicle handbrake if the driver forgets to when leaving the vehicle using a range of in-cab sensors including seat pressure and engine state. The system is suitable for new installs or retrofitting and is compatible with all makes and models of bus or coach.

One of the best features of BrakeSafe is that it is autonomous – the driver doesn’t have to press, look or interact with the safety system at all when driving. However, if they were to forget to apply the brake and then leave the vehicle, the system would automatically take control – even with the ignition off – eliminating any risk of vehicle rollaway and preventing unthinkable fatal accidents.

Essentially BrakeSafe takes away the risk of human error.

The BrakeSafe system is being tested by the TfL as well as many bus manufacturers with plans to introduce stricter safety guidelines in the coming months.

“If the technology is available to stop this from happening it should be a standard feature, like mirrors and warning signs. BrakeSafe could easily prevent the next disaster about to happen,” continued Steve Hurd.

The system won four industry recognised innovation awards in 2016 including the prestigious Motor Transport Award, alongside key players in the road transport industry.

For more information about BrakeSafe, please contact Vision Techniques on 01254 679747 or via email at