Published 17 February 2020
West Dunbartonshire has become the first UK Council to introduce innovative safety technology that allows its refuse collection vehicles to be brought to a controlled stop in an emergency situation.
The VT StopSafe system allows crew members or other passengers to safely slow down and stop the vehicle if the driver loses control for any reason.
When the system is activated, it limits the vehicle engine revs from the accelerator pedal and uses braking pulses to bring the vehicle to a halt in seconds.
This method means the vehicle won’t swerve, skid or lock up, reducing the risk to other road users and pedestrians.
Once activated, alarms also sound from the vehicle to alert pedestrians to an approaching hazard.
The Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA) approved safety feature was installed in each of the Council’s 21 bin lorries in the past few months, and all waste services staff have received training in operating the system.
Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, welcomed the addition of the technology.
He said: "I am pleased to see West Dunbartonshire Council leading the way in making our refuse vehicles safer. We are the first Council in the UK to introduce this feature, and I am fully supportive of any initiative that keeps our residents and our staff safe.
"I hope this additional safety features gives peace of mind not only to employees but also their families, that in an emergency these vehicles can be brought to a safe stop."
Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: "All our waste services staff have been fully trained to use this new safety feature, and are happy to know that in the event of an emergency, passengers within the cabin can stop the vehicle and also make pedestrians in the vicinity aware of a potential hazard."