Help avoid rollaway incidents

Easily avoidable

Rollaway incidents can have potentially devastating consequences for both drivers and operators, especially when the heavy loads that commercial vehicles can carry is factored in.

In light of a recent court case where an HGV driver was given a suspended prison sentence after failing to apply his parkbrake and killing a man as a result we discuss the risks of rollaway accidents and what technology is available to avoid such incidents.

In this particular incident in January 2019 a vehicle rolled into a trailer unit as they were in the process of swapping trailer units.   Following the police investigation, it was found that the driver had failed to apply the parkbrake on his tracktor unit and the parking brake on the trailer was also not set.  A sergeant from Staffordshire and West Midlands serious collision investigation unit said “This was a tragic event, I would urge drivers of any vehicle not just lorries to ensure their own and other safety and check that the handbrake is correctly engaged before exiting their vehicle.  A family have been left devasted by the actions of the driver that night in what was an easily avoidable incident.”


Rollaway incidents

True number of incidents

Unfortunately, the true number of rollaway incidents which happen each year is unknown as many incidents remain unreported; out of the 72 incidents reported under RIDDOR which qualified as a rollaway 8 resulted in fatalities.

VT BRAKESAFE is our fail-safe automatic braking system that instantly applies the vehicle park brake if it is not applied by the driver should they exit the cab, removing any risk of a vehicle rollaway.

Why do rollaways happen?

Imagine the driver is tired, in a rush, or maybe they think they’ve applied the handbrake when if fact they have not, With all the other demands on a driver and the pressure of intensive operations, it’s all too easy to forget a basic precaution such as applying the parking brake or to follow correct tracktor- trailer coupling procedures.

Should the driver have forgotten to apply the park brake, a runaway is all too feasible. On tractor-trailer combinations, failure to apply the brakes risks rollaway when the brake line is disconnected. Conversely, the whole rig could run away when the red airline is connected. The driver in these situations is in a particularly vulnerable position – either between the rear of the tractor unit and front of the trailer or at the side, unable to apply the brakes.

How does BrakeSafe prevent this from happening?

Other systems provide an audible warning to the driver that the park brake has not been applied, but BrakeSafe is the only system that will actually prevent a runaway from happening – the system automatically applies the vehicle handbrake if the driver forgets. with VT BRAKESAFE you can remove the risk of any human error.

The system has been developed in house, is totally unique to us here at Vision Techniques, we are the only company in the UK to offer this aftermarket solution.  VT  BRAKESAFE has received approval from the VCA and recognised by industry leaders for its innovation including Winner of the Innovation Award at Motor Transport Award 2016, Best New Product at the Commercial Fleet Award and Best innovation at the TIP-Ex and TANK-EX awards.

The beauty of VT BRAKESAFE is that is completely autonomous. The driver doesn’t have to press, look or interact with the safety system at all when driving.

However, if the driver were to forget to apply the park brake and exit the cab, the system will automatically take control. It will give an audible alert message to the driver and applies the park brake – even if the ignition is off – eliminating any risk of vehicle rollaway.

VT BRAKESAFE receives data from a variety of inputs to ensure the parking brake is engaged when it should be engaged.  Multiple sensors have to be activated in a certain scenario for the BrakeSafe system to apply the brakes. These include door position, whether the vehicle is running, and if the driver is sitting on the seat. The system is programmed to activate when needed, but not to interfere with the driver if not all aspects of the scenario have been met.

Should an activation take place the system can be reset via the drivers’ reset button.  These activations can be recorded and reviewed when used in conjunction with our one of our DVR’s

Vt Braksafe engineer

How long does installation take?

For retrofits Vision Techniques engineers can install the system on-site and even train your own technicians in the correct procedure, its a straightforward job, a solenoid valve is fitted to the air supply line to the park brake and pressure switches installed at appropriate points.  There is no impact on braking dynamics, but because it represents a change to the vehicles Type- Approved braking system a VTG10 notifiable alteration must be completed.  The VCA has certified VT Brakesafe as compliant, so it’s a simple paperwork exercise.

What about maintenance?

The system has been designed for the rigours of commercial vehicle life, the unit is extremely robust and there is little to develop a fault, we do advise incorporating a function check into the drivers daily walk round checks and routine service checks.  It is also possible for managers to confirm any system activations via a data feed into our VT FMS telematics system or one of our VT RECORD DVR systems.

For more information please visit our VT BRAKESAFE product page or subscribe to our Youtube channel.  If you would like to see the system in action please contact our team to arrange a product demonstration.