NZ police up mobile brake testing

In News, June 20213 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 1, 2021

The NZ Police commercial vehicle safety teams (CVST) will bring new brake safety monitoring technology into operation from June. Six new BM20200 mobile roller brake testers (MRBTs) are being rolled out nationwide to CVST as well as 84 hand-held thermal imaging devices to each CVST vehicle and each of the six weigh stations.

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

Dylan Hunt, Weigh Right Programme manager, NZTA, said: “The roller brakes initiative is a fantastic piece of work by NZ Police that complements the work we are doing.”

The MRBTs will enable roadside brake tests to be completed 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.

“We have been working with Waka Kotahi to ensure the MRBTs being rolled out align with the fixed inground roller brake machines being installed in CVSCs, enabling the same high-test standard and data processing,” said superintendent Steve Greally, director road policing.

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, with a total setup length of 3.5m.

“The design is simple and strong, but the main benefit is there are no particular requirements to the testing area surface – we can undertake a brake test anytime, anywhere.”

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. Suppose the thermal image shows a drum or disk with a different temperature than others on the vehicle. In that case, there may be an issue with the brakes not being fully operational, which would trigger the need for a further inspection,” said Greally.

Although trucks are not involved in significantly more crashes per kilometre than other vehicles, heavy vehicle crashes are more likely to be fatal (more than 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.”