NZ Police launch new mobile roller brake testers and thermal imaging devices

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 6, 2021

From June, the NZ Police commercial vehicle safety teams (CVST) will be able to identify brake failures more easily thanks to new brake safety monitoring technology.

Six new BM20200 mobile roller brake testers (MRBTs) are being rolled out nationwide to CVST as well as 84 handheld thermal imaging devices to each CVST vehicle and each of the six weigh stations.

“By investing in new technology that helps identify possible brake failures we can prevent potential harm being cause,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, director road policing.

The MRBTs are equipped with the same electronics and software as the fixed inground roller brake machines that the New Zealand Transport Agency will be installing in commercial vehicle safety centres (CVSC) as a part of its Weigh Right Programme.

“We have been working with Waka Kotahi to ensure the MRBTs being rolled out aligns with the fixed inground roller brake machines being installed in CVSC, enabling the same high-test standard and data processing.”

Dylan Hunt, Weigh Right programme manager, NZTA, says: “The roller brakes initiative is a fantastic piece of work by NZ Police that complements the work we are doing in the Weigh Right Programme, which is to increase compliance, improve road safety, and create a level playing field for all commercial operators.”

The MRBTs will enable roadside brake tests to be completed easily and effectively for all vehicles up to a maximum axle load of 20,000kg and can be placed on an asphalt or concrete floor, as well as on an uneven gravel ground, such as sand and dirt.

“The design is simple with strong and flexible mechanical solutions, but the main benefit is that there are no particular requirements to the testing area surface meaning we can undertake a brake test anytime, anywhere,” says Greally.

The MRBT set height is only 160mm, which ensures against bottoming out when passing with very low vehicles such as coaches and cars. Also due to the low height of the roller set, the length of the ramps is only 1.25m on each side, so a total setup length of only 3.5m.

The thermal imaging devices will help assess a vehicle‘s braking fitness without the need for a physical inspection.

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

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% of road deaths).

“By being able to identify possible brake issues we can better target our efforts towards inspecting those trucks, maximising our operating capabilities and allowing seemingly brake-safe operators to continue uninterrupted. However, the CVST can stop a vehicle for inspection anytime, anywhere.”