West Dunbartonshire has introduce what is seen as innovative safety technology allowing its refuse collection vehicles to be brought to a controlled stop in an emergency situation.
The authority, which has a population of 89,000 and is based north west of Glasgow, considers that it is the first in the UK to bring in the controlled stop measures.
The emergency braking system has been supplied by Vision Techniques which explained that its VT STOPSAFE system allows crew members or other passengers to safely slow down and stop the vehicle if the driver loses control for any reason.
When the system is activated, noted Vision Technicques, it limits the vehicle engine revs from the accelerator pedal and uses braking pulses to bring the vehicle to a halt in seconds. “This method means the vehicle won’t swerve, skid or lock up, reducing the risk to other road users and pedestrians. Once activated, alarms also sound from the vehicle to alert pedestrians to an approaching hazard.”
The safety feature was installed in each of West Dunbartonshire’s 21 refuse collection vehicles over the past few months with waste services staff receiving training in operating the system.
‘Leading the way’
Cllr Iain McLaren, the council’s convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, welcomed the addition of the technology.
He said: “I am pleased to see West Dunbartonshire council leading the way in making our refuse vehicles safer. We are the first council in the UK to introduce this feature, and I am fully supportive of any initiative that keeps our residents and our staff safe.
“I hope this additional safety features gives peace of mind not only to employees but also their families, that in an emergency these vehicles can be brought to a safe stop.”
On training, Cllr Marie McNair, the infrastructure vice convener, said: “All our waste services staff have been fully trained to use this new safety feature, and are happy to know that in the event of an emergency, passengers within the cabin can stop the vehicle and also make pedestrians in the vicinity aware of a potential hazard.”
West Dunbartonshire said that the innovation has gained particular interest with the Scottish press with extensive coverage from STV and BBC Scottish news and radio stations.
Interest in the product from the media is thought to have been spurred by the incident in Glasgow in 2014 when an ‘out of control’ refuse collection vehicle killed six people.
Marshall Flemming, Scottish account manager for Vision Techniques commented: “We are extremely proud of this system, it is the only one of its kind to stop an out of control vehicle and it’s great to see West Dunbartonshire council roll the system out across the whole of their fleet.