Royal Mail Vehicle Fleet Handbrake Safety Developments
Royal Mail has had a worrying number of vehicle roll-aways since 2014, some of which have caused very serious injuries and even a fatality plus in some cases extensive property damage and huge costs have resulted. Police prosecution for serious Road Traffic Act Driving Offences can also be a result.
Royal Mail Safety Alert – “HIT”
This week a further Royal Mail Safety Alert has been issued reinforcing driver safety standards and ‘mandatory controls’ required when parking Royal Mail vehicles, in a further effort to reduce and eliminate vehicle roll-away incidents.
Royal Mail with CWU support continues joint efforts to ‘raise the profile of this risk’ and to promote the “HIT” driver parking safely Acronym as follows:-
Remember & Think “HIT”
- Handbrake On
- In Gear
- Turn the Wheels
Handbrake Safety Technology
Additionally, the Health, Safety and Environment Department has been in discussions with Royal Mail Fleet for some time, firstly looking at what Handbrake Safety Technology is available on the market which is simplistic in design but has been engineered to make an enhancement to fleet vehicle operational safety and secondly Royal Mail Fleet and the CWU have been conducting trials of three types of Handbrake Safety systems.
Two types are being trialled on LGVs. These are the ‘DAF factory system’ and the ‘Vision Techniques Brake-Safe system’. These two systems automatically apply the handbrake/park brake if the driver leaves the vehicle without applying the brake. LGVs have an airbrake system and automatic application via these new safety systems is possible.
Light Commercial Van Fleet
On the Light Commercial Van Fleet, the ‘TVG Parking Brake Safety System’ was initially, successfully trialled on 4 Royal Mail Peugeot Partner Vans and the Trial has now been extended to a further 100 new Royal Mail VW Caddy Vans and 1 Parcelforce Mercedes Sprinter Van. This system consists of an Electronic Control Module and Sensor fitted in the Handbrake Mechanism. The electronic module detects when the vehicle door is opened and immediately checks the status of the mechanical handbrake sensor which will output a reading, having measured the amount of force applied to the handbrake lever and cables. If the electronic sensor and module detects that the amount of force applied to the handbrake has not reached the threshold and is insufficient to hold the vehicle firm when parked, an immediate loud audible alert will sound warning the driver to fully apply the handbrake to a point where the force exceeds the minimum threshold and the warning alert will then cease. Compared with existing standard systems where the driver is subjected to a repetitive automated reminder, this system will only ever voice a warning/reminder if the handbrake is not fully applied. (See attached TVG Specification Document).
The 4 Royal Mail Peugeot Partner Vans fitted with the TVG Handbrake Safety System are located at;-
Kiln Farm DO, Woodbridge DO, Grimsby DO and Whitchurch DO.
The Parcelforce Mercedes Sprinter Van Fitted with the TVG Handbrake Safety System is located at Milton Keynes LD.
We have strongly expressed the view that these trials should be further extended at the earliest opportunity and beyond that rolled out nationally as standard, if the kit proves to be universally successful in reducing roll-away vehicle incidents.
- The new Volkswagen (VW) Fleet vehicles also come fitted as standard with the Autonomous Emergency Braking/City Emergency Braking system. At speeds under 18mph it scans the road ahead to let the driver know if they’re at risk of a collision. If the driver fails to brake, this Autonomous Emergency Braking technology applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of an accident.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer