NEW TRAILER SAFETY DEVICE PROTECTS DRIVERS AGAINST ROLLAWAYS & CRUSHING INCIDENTS
It’s an issue with which every articulated vehicle driver will be familiar, seemingly all drivers have a war story to tell of the time it happened to himself or a colleague. Trailer coupling accidents, resulting in rollaways or even potential crushing incidents remain a constant danger to drivers, their livelihood and ultimately their lives. Now, more than 10 years after its first conception, Maple Fleet Services claim to have the solution and it’s all thanks to a doctor!
Like many involved in the transport industry, Robert Tonge had been witness to a miss-coupling accident. On this occasion nobody was hurt, but the out-of-control trailer took out a cafeteria used by drivers, unsurprisingly it left an impression on Robert. He set about devising a solution, a solution which he felt for certain could put an end to this problem and ultimately save lives.
He approached various manufacturers and suppliers, it was well received but despite promises and assurances his concept never quite made it into production. Robert had all but given up on the idea he had been passionately trying to bring to market for close to 10 years, that was until a doctor intervened.
Robert Tonge takes up the story, “My doctor advised me to take more regular exercise and so with his words ringing in my ears I did just that. It was whilst out walking that I happened to pass Maple Fleet Services building and decided to chance my arm. I remain very passionate about the subject of coupling accidents, after witnessing an incident first-hand I was adamant I had the solution to stop this. It was clear from the first moment I spoke with Alan Maple, he shared my concern about the issues and enthusiasm for the concept I had developed, he agreed to assist in developing it further.”
SAFECONNECT – THE SOLUTION
The theory behind SafeConnect, as with many great ideas, is one of simplicity. Rollaways and coupling accidents can occur because of the inadvertent release of trailer brakes when service lines are connected. Often the drivers’ first impulse is to try and stop the vehicle movement by trying to access the cab, thus putting him at even greater danger. SafeConnect is a pneumatic valve that ensures a trailers brakes are permanently applied throughout the entire coupling process, only once the driver has completed the process and returned to the cab can normal braking functionality be returned, achieved by depressing the brake pedal.
SafeConnect is fitted to the trailer and as such is compatible with any tractor unit, no additional equipment is required, neither is there any additional procedures for the driver to action, it simply sets automatically and they continue about their normal coupling procedure.
“It is my belief that SafeConnect is a must have for trailer operators. It’s easy to use, failsafe in it’s operation and essentially it will save lives. There are many dangers drivers face on a daily basis, some, like the behaviours of other road users cannot be controlled or eradicated, others, like coupling accidents, which we are still reading about today can be avoided. SafeConnect is a realistic, affordable solution. I’m delighted that Robert persisted, it’s been a pleasure working with him to develop this,” commented Alan Maple, Technical Director, Maple Fleet Services.
After successful trials with local firm Robert Walker Haulage Ltd, Maple Fleet Services are launching the trailer safety device to the UK market. The haulier has fitted the system to a selection of vehicles and has been delighted with the results, “Safeconnect offers us the reassurance that in the event of inadvertent release of trailers brakes our drivers are still safe, I’d implore anyone to fit SafeConnect,” commented Neil Walker, Director for Robert Walker Haulage. For further details regarding visit www.maplefleetservices.co.uk
About the author: Paul Nunn is the marketing manager are Maple Fleet Services specialists in slam locks