4 reasons why you should fit an emergency braking system

HGVs, and vehicles like them, comprise the backbone of a wide variety of key sectors here in the UK, but there’s no denying that their size and weight makes them far deadlier than smaller passenger cars. In 2019 alone, more than 4000 people were injured or killed in collisions involving HGVs in the UK. Accidents involving the driver losing consciousness are relatively rare, but can be particularly devastating.

Those are exactly the sorts of scenarios that we’ve dedicated ourselves to eliminating here at Vision Techniques. Our extensive range of vehicle safety systems includes StopSafe, a high tech emergency braking system designed to prevent accidents, injuries, and deaths resulting from HGV collisions. Here are four great reasons why you should consider integrating it into your own business fleet.

It can save lives

It may be a very simple point, but it’s hugely important. Above all, we designed StopSafe to save lives. It was developed by our engineers in response to the devastating Glasgow bin lorry crash of 2014, in which six people were killed after the driver lost consciousness at the wheel.

It was a horrifying, tragic incident that underscored exactly how deadly heavy vehicles could be, and we developed StopSafe with a very straightforward aim in mind – we wanted to make sure that it never happened again. Today, StopSafe safeguards and protects human life first and foremost, in addition to public and private property, and the surrounding environment.

It’s simple and foolproof to use

Essentially, StopSafe is designed to let the crew bring the vehicle to a safe stop when the driver is incapacitated or otherwise loses control. The most visible feature is a large button on the dashboard – when it’s pressed, the system cuts the engine power and applies ABS braking to bring the vehicle to a slow, controlled halt, thereby minimising the risk of catastrophic collisions. During braking, it simultaneously activates secondary brake lights and audible alarms to alert pedestrians of the approaching hazard.

We’ve designed the system in a way that minimises the risk of it being accidentally triggered; it uses a simple lever system that needs to be constantly applied for the system to work, so that there’s no danger of accidentally initiating an emergency brake unless there’s an actual emergency. In the rare event that this may occur, StopSafe also incorporates a driver override button so that the system can be disabled. We can provide comprehensive training on every one of the system’s features, if you feel it would be beneficial.

lorry stopping

It minimises the risk of jackknifing

Emergency braking for HGVs is often complicated by the risk of jackknifing, which is an issue largely unique to vehicles with trailers – and especially common with articulated HGVs. Basically, this occurs when the tractor unit brakes suddenly, but the inertia of the trailer keeps it moving forward. This typically means the trailer’s momentum causes it to swing out sideways behind the tractor unit as the driver loses control, causing the entire vehicle to form an L or pocket-knife shape – hence the term jackknifing.

StopSafe prevents this from occurring by keeping sudden braking to a minimum. Instead, it uses pulsed / cadence braking to the solenoid valve, and lifts the revs from the accelerator pedal. That ultimately helps to slow the vehicle in a controlled, gradual manner, minimising the risk of a swinging trailer causing even more property damage or loss of human life.

Approved by the Vehicle Certification Authority

We earned official accreditation from the VCA in 2019, and gained widespread recognition for being the only manufacturer to be given VCA approval for the problem of out-of-control vehicles. It was a long, gruelling and rigorous testing process, involving the oversight and testing of samples, documentation of specification and official evaluation of the measures that we have in place to ensure Conformity of Production (in other words, ascertaining that we’d be able to replicate these exacting standards for every system we manufacture).

We remain the only manufacturer of the StopSafe system, which is now used by countless vehicles across a range of key sectors including construction, municipal, and public transport – just to name a few.

To see how it can help your organisation, feel free to take a look through our case studies, particularly West Dumbartonshire Council, where StopSafe was used to fantastic effect. The council’s fleet manager said: “I would hope that all councils will seriously consider installing this potentially life-saving piece of equipment.”

And if you’ve got any questions or need any advice, feel free to give us a call on 01254 679 717, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.