An Anti-Runaway Automated Park Brake (Anti-RAPB) has been introduced by Renault Tricks which aims to eliminate the risk of uncontrolled vehicle movements caused by human error when a truck is idling or static. The UK initiative was developed in close partnership with a major fleet operator and Renault Trucks’ engineering team in Lyon.
The safety back-up device is available as a software and wiring update on all Range T, C and K trucks with electronic park brakes. In the event of the driver’s door being opened at speeds of up to 1.8mph (3kph), the device activates the park brake automatically.
“Renault Trucks Anti-RAPB is a great example of how we are using technology to help prevent avoidable accidents,” commented Nigel Butler, Commercial Director, Renault Trucks. “Despite advances in technology, vehicle runaway situations remain too common; drivers can get distracted when the truck is idling and simply forget to activate the park brake when they leave the vehicle to uncouple the trailer or sign a document. It only takes a slight incline for 44-tonnes to start rolling, which becomes a very serious problem, very quickly. Our Anti-RAPB solution helps reduce the consequence of human error, preventing the problem before it arises.”
The HSE has again recently highlighted the dangers of runaway vehicles. In a review of a fatal incident in Kent in 2014, it identified that the driver’s failure to apply the park brake had resulted in a road worker becoming trapped between the trailer and another vehicle, causing his tragic death.
Renault Trucks’ solution is to create a ‘fail-safe’ which can operate in two scenarios at speed below 1.8mph. In each case the Range T, C and K’s electronic park brake utilises the extensive functionality of the vehicle’s electronics systems to make the Anti-RAPB innovation possible and to communicate the system’s status to the driver through the dashboard ‘tell-tale’ messages.
Scenario one is when the truck is in neutral, the park brake is not applied and the driver’s door is opened. Here, the ‘door open’ buzzer will sound momentarily, followed by the application of the park brake and the message ‘Park Brake Applied’. In this case, upon closing the door and selecting drive, the park brake will auto release when pulling away.
The second scenario is when the vehicle is in gear, the park brake is not applied and the driver’s door is opened. The door open buzzer will activate, followed by the application of the park brake, with the message ‘Door open. Select Neutral position before leaving vehicle’.
If this message is ignored, when the door is closed the park brake will not auto release when pulling away, so the driver must either select neutral and return to drive or manually release the park brake.
Nigel Butler continued: “Safety is of utmost importance to Renault Trucks and we are committed to developing technology that provides safer environments for drivers, their colleagues working on sites or in yards as well as other road users. This device will provide a critical safety intervention in the event of an emergency, with the added interlock of speed ensuring that no action is taken if doors open above 1.8mph. Addressing the risk of runaways will also bring the additional benefit of minimising down-time and reducing repair and insurance costs caused by these incidents.”