Posted on 2nd Jul, 2019 by Charlotte Coop
Safety is one of the single most important operational considerations for fleet managers, and it’s an area which has seen substantial innovation in the past few years – not least from our own engineers here at Vision Techniques! But with such a wide range of vehicle safety products on the market today, it can be difficult to know which ones to prioritise. Below are our recommendations for the technology to prioritise for your own commercial fleet, along with a short explanation for each of exactly what makes them quite so useful.
Our Stopsafe technology is one of our flagship products here at Vision Techniques, and has just been certified by the Vehicle Certification Agency; the national UK body for approving new vehicles, related technology and components. We developed Stopsafe in response to the 2014 Glasgow bin lorry tragedy, in which six people were killed and fifteen injured when a driver lost consciousness at the wheel.
The system is designed for crewed vehicles to enable them to bring the vehicle to a safe, controlled halt in the event that the driver should somehow become incapacitated, whether that’s through loss of consciousness or by some other means.
It takes the form of a lever mounted on the dashboard; when activated by members of the crew, it engages the brakes in a controlled fashion, drastically cutting down on the possibility of wheel lockup or jackknifing that can occur in instances of hard braking. It’s a vital safety feature and undoubtedly one of the most vital technologies we offer here at Vision Techniques.
This product was designed by our engineers to deal with one of the most simple and common mistakes made by HGV drivers every year – failing to engage the handbrake when getting out of the cab. On level surfaces this is not ideal, but likely won’t have serious consequences. However, when the HGV is parked on an incline – even a relatively shallow one – the situation immediately becomes a lot more dangerous.
The slope of a hill can cause the HGV to roll backwards or forwards, gathering speed as it travels until it collides with whatever lies at the bottom of the hill. In the very best case scenario, this may be a crash barrier or row of unoccupied cars. In the worst cases, it could be an active line of traffic, someone’s home, or pedestrians or cyclists travelling across the street. We’ve covered a few cases of it happening here on the blog at Vision Techniques – in 2017, a lorry crashed into the front of a pub. Its customers were later said to be ‘lucky to be alive’.
It’s an incident that just goes to show how easily these occurrences can happen, and it’s scenarios like these that we’ve designed Brakesafe to prevent. It automatically applies the brake if it detects that the driver has failed to do so, preventing the HGV from becoming a destructive runaway vehicle.
Reversing radars and reversing cameras are an increasingly common consumer technology, and it’s not unusual for many commuter cars to be fitted with them, as well as radar alarms to enable the drivers to make more accurate judgements when backing into a space or making parallel parking manoeuvres.
However, where HGVs are concerned, their size and weight makes them even more hazardous than regular vehicles, especially in tight environments or typically crowded areas like industrial estates or business parks.
Historically, drivers have relied on ‘banksmen’ to direct them. However, like all of us the banksman can be prone to being tired, busy or distracted, leading to mistakes or misunderstandings which can have huge consequences. Our VT Banksman system is designed to mitigate these dangers with autobraking technology that applies the brakes automatically, making it a vital safety system for any commercial or industrial vehicle.
Your vehicle is a crucial asset to your business, however associated costs such as downtime due to incident repairs can be a concern. Blind spots are a major factor in collisions across all industries. Operator positions, bodywork, absent rear windows and bulkheads create further restrictions and can greatly limit driver visibility, making collisions even more likely.
Camera systems enable drivers and operators to maneuver and drive safely. They offer enhanced visual aid by delivering a live feed via a monitor, designed to assist both driver and vulnerable road users by reducing blind spots.
Our comprehensive camera range covers all types of vehicle and applications from micro sized cameras for vans to heavy duty IP69K rated cameras for construction and plant machinery. Our range also includes the Overview 360° camera and monitor system give the driver a complete birdseye view of the vehicle and its surroundings presented to the driver in one easy to use monitor screen
These are the recommended bare essentials for your fleet, but if you’ve got the flexibility, we also recommend equipping your HGVs with VT Turnsafe; our range of products which have been designed to drastically reduce the chances of accidents when turning. These can be exceptionally useful for avoiding cyclists while out on the roads, but also pedestrians and workers on-site, and even solid objects. And as ever, if you’ve got any questions about any of our products, feel free to give out sales team a call on 08455 911 434 – we’re here to help!