West Dunbartonshire Council: Pioneering in fleet safety with VT Stopsafe
West Dunbartonshire Council is one of 32 local government council areas in Scotland. The area lies to the west of Glasgow, bordering Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Stirling.
The collection and disposal of waste and refuse from 45,000 residents and 700 businesses are the responsibility of Rodney Thornton Fleet and Waste Services Manager and Fleet Manager John Blake. The team of 130 employees operate and maintains a large fleet of vehicles, including 21 refuse collection vehicles (RCVs).
Vehicle and employee safety is high on the agenda for the Council – a top priority. Its fleet of new DAF RCVs with Heil bodies has several safety features, and all its RCVs have complete CCTV systems, vehicle tracking and collision detection radar as standard.
After investigating further vehicle safety advancements for their fleet, their attention was drawn to a product demonstration day hosted by our experts at Vision Techniques.
Rodney and John were impressed with the safety features of VT STOPSAFE and invited our team to demonstrate the product at their depot. Senior management at the Council and partner local authorities were invited to see VT STOPSAFE in action.
Rodney said, “At the time of the demonstration, the product was very much in the concept stage, but after seeing how it worked and its benefits, we were convinced we needed to install the product across our fleet.”
Our design experts developed VT STOPSAFE to allow the crew to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop if the driver loses control for any reason. VT STOPSAFE is the only product on the market to protect against an out-of-control vehicle and is the only emergency braking system to get approval from the Vehicle Certification Agency.
Rodney added. “Because it’s a completely new product in terms of heavy goods vehicles, we anticipated there could be modifications needed; however, I was personally impressed with Vision Techniques and the dedication of Marshall and the team to getting the product to where it needed to be.”
He concluded: “Vision Techniques rose to the challenge and showed the dedication to get the product to the market. I have seen it with other products we’ve tried to take forward; it’s easy for developers to park it. It didn’t happen with the team at Vision Techniques, and it shows the company’s commitment and belief in the product. Getting the certification in place meant that this was a product we were comfortable to bring on board to our fleet, safe in the knowledge the product does the job.”
Here at Vision Techniques we support all our installations with in-depth training and support. Our team worked closely with Rodney and his crew, taking them step by step through each of the product features giving them the opportunity to get some hands-on experience.
They found the system extremely simple to activate, the positioning of the lever and the way the lever needs to be constantly applied, removing any risk of accidental use, was well received by the operators.
Each member of the crew took the vehicle for a test run, taking it up to 30 mph and putting STOPSAFE through its paces, the crew commented on how quickly and smoothly the vehicle was brought to a halt with no signs of skidding swerving or lock up. Marshall and the team also spent valuable time in the workshop answering any questions from the technicians with regards to maintenance or repairs.
Rodney commented on the feedback from his team “Overall it’s been extremely positive as everyone recognises the value of it, we have introduced STOPSAFE into our training schedule and all trained employees are issued with a VT training certificate which is held within their development files so that there is a record of when they have completed the training and who is authorised to use it.“
Rodney tells us how VT STOPSAFE is now integrated into their 6-week vehicle inspection test “We sincerely hope we never have to use STOPSAFE in a real-life situation, however by having it fitted we know we are keeping our staff and members of the public safe in case of an incident. To ensure continued functionality, We have introduced the product into our 6-week vehicle inspection, where our technical staff will test and operate the equipment. Our staff have a really good understanding of our safety procedures and feel secure in the knowledge we are doing everything to keep them safe”