NEW TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY

In News6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 28, 2021

NZ Police are introducing new mobile roller brake testers and thermal imaging devices to improve heavy vehicle road safety.

“We are equipping our commercial vehicle safety teams with the latest brake safety monitoring technology to reduce the risk of a serious injury or death on our roads as a result of brake failure,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, Director Road Policing.

Beginning June, six new BM20200 mobile roller brake testers are being rolled out to CVSTs which will enable roadside brake tests to be completed easily and effectively for all vehicles up to a maximum axle load of 20,000kg.

The MRBTs (also known as roller brake test machines) are equipped with the same electronics and software as the BM inground roller brake testers in the commercial vehicle safety centres (weigh stations) and therefore offers the same high-test standard and data processing as the inground models.

The 84 handheld thermal imaging devices will help assess a vehicle‘s braking fitness without the need for a physical inspection, allowing CVST staff to better identify heavy vehicles with a possible brake issue.

“A TID displays the temperature of the brake drum or disk on each wheel,” explains Mr Greally. “If the thermal image shows a drum or disk with a different temperature compared to others on the truck, there may be an issue with the brakes not being fully operational, which would trigger the need for a further inspection.”

“A brake issue with a fully loaded truck is a significant risk, and one that must not be overlooked.”

Although trucks are not involved in significantly more crashes per kilometre travelled than other vehicles, heavy vehicle crashes are more likely to be fatal (over 20 per cent of road deaths).

In December last year almost one in five trucks stopped as part of a Northland road safety operation were found to be unroadworthy. Ninety six of the 534 trucks stopped failed their inspections (18 per cent). Eleven were found to have serious faults, deemed non- operational and were taken off the road.

The biggest issue found related to lighting faults, but there were also a high number of failures relating to tyres and brakes.

These vehicles posed a considerable risk to the drivers and other road users.

“The MRBTs and TIDs will improve heavy vehicle road safety,” says Mr Greally. “We are committed to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Any death or serious injury is one too many, especially if it could have been prevented.”

Trucking companies have a duty of responsibility to ensure their vehicles are safe and not put their drivers and other road users at risk. Truck drivers also have a responsibility themselves to check that the truck and trailers are safe to operate.

“Road safety is everyone‘s responsibility.”

New Zealand relies heavily upon the valuable economic contribution the trucking industry makes every year, transporting 93 per cent of New Zealand‘s total freight by weight according to the Government‘s National Freight Demands Study 2017/18.

In 2020, while the rest of New Zealand was under Covid-19 Level 4 and Level 3 lock down restrictions, the trucking industry continued to move essential goods and products from ports and rail yards to store doors and suppliers in our communities.

The future role of the trucking industry, at least in the next 20 years, indicates our continued reliance. It is therefore extremely important for Police and Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) to work with operators around driver and vehicle safety so trucks can stay on the road operating safely.

The future role of the trucking industry, at least in the next 20 years, indicates our continued reliance. It is therefore extremely important for Police and Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) to work with operators around driver and vehicle safety so trucks can stay on the road operating safely.

The BM20200 MRBT design is simple with strong and flexible mechanical solutions. The benefit is that there are no particular requirements to the testing area surface. The BM20200 can be placed on an asphalt or concrete floor, but also on an uneven gravel ground, sand and dirt.

The roller set height is only 160 mm, which ensures against bottoming out when passing with very low vehicles such as coaches and cars.

Due to the low height of the roller set, the length of the ramps is only 1.25 metres on each side, so a total setup length of only 3.5 metres.