Top ten safety technology tips

By: Steve Skinner

There is plenty of readily available electronic technology which can greatly improve truck safety, says one of Australia’s top heavy vehicle experts

Top ten safety technology tips
Dr. Peter Hart.


Dr Peter Hart delivered a fascinating power-point presentation on safety at the latest Technical and Maintenance Conference in Melbourne.

Dr Hart, a heavy vehicle engineer and forensic safety investigator, is also chairman of the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association, one of the organisers of the TMC.

Most of "My Top Ten Truck and Trailer Safety Technologies" involve electronic controls, and they can save lives. Several are compulsory overseas.

"Forget about autonomous trucks and start talking about systems that assist drivers," says Dr Hart.

"Don’t expect adoption of these new technologies to be mandated by the Australian Design Rules within the next five years.

"Australia urgently needs to start talking about incentives for safer, and greener, trucks. The incentives could be revenue neutral for government."


Hart’s Top Ten are:

1) Truck Electronic Stability Control

  • Applies individual brakes to correct the vehicle path.
  • Mandated for new trucks in Europe and USA / Canada.

2) Truck Autonomous Emergency Braking

  • Brakes the truck and trailer to avoid frontal collision.
  • Mandated on new trucks in Europe, but no active proposal to mandate in Australia.
  • First step is adaptive cruise control.

3) Truck Auxiliary Brakes

  • Heavy-duty trucks should have powerful auxiliary brakes to help control downhill speed (the best one Owner//Driver has come across is Scania’s transmission retarder).
  • Mandated in Europe but there is no active proposal to mandate here.

4) Truck Blind Spot Detection

  • Displays images or symbols that identify vehicles in blind spots.
  • Improves visibility, particularly on the left side. The danger is driver distraction.
  • No active proposal to mandate in Australia.

5) Truck Suspension Seats with Integral Belts

  • Now mandated in ADR 5.
  • Driver comfort is greatly improved.
  • Principal reason for low seatbelt wearing rate is non-use of integral seats.
  • Legacy problem with most trucks older than 7 years.

6) Truck Lane Departure Warning System

  • Warns the driver when a lane departure is pending or occurring.
  • Helps the driver to deal with fatigue.
  • Mandated in Europe on most new heavy trucks but no active proposal to mandate here.

7) Trailer Electronic Stability Control (TEBS)

  • Slows the truck when a pending rollover is predicted. Proven benefits.
  • Also incorporates electronic brake distribution.
  • Under active consideration here.
  • Settings sometimes need to be fine tuned so a relationship with the supplier is important.

8) Trailer Side-Under Run Barriers

  • Important in city driving environments
  • Effective at keeping bicycles, motorcycles and sideswiping cars away from the wheels.
  • Mandated in Europe but no active proposal to mandate in Australia.

9) Truck and Trailer Tyre Condition Management

  • Pressure management reduces stopping distance and improves fuel economy and tyre life.
  • Temperature / pressure monitoring reduces fire risk due to wheel-end problems.
  • Under active review by the European and USA regulators but no active proposal to mandate in Australia.

10) Tipping-Body Stability Management

  • Australia is allowing longer tipping trucks and trailers.
  • Interlocks that monitor air-bag pressure now exist to stop the lift when it is unsafe.
  • No active proposal to mandate here. Should be a basic OHS requirement.





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