Award Winning Invention to Prevent Lorry Accidents

Posted on 30 September 2013 by Tony Santos


The SafeConnect is a revolutionary new safety device from Maple Fleet Services. The device has been invented to address the dangerous process of coupling a tractor unit with a trailer, and prevent vehicle rollaway and coupling accidents.

Over a five-year period, the HSE report states that there were more than 28,000 injuries, 5,000 severe injuries and 60 deaths reported in the Haulage & Distribution industry. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous and hazardous areas in which to work.

The main cause of the unplanned release of trailer brakes is a failure to correctly couple the trailer and tractor together.

The inventor, engineer Robert Tonge, witnesses such an accident when he saw a rollaway trailer demolish a roadside café. Fortunately, this incident didn’t result in any injuries, but two drivers have died this year in related accidents.

Tonge was soon challenged by his boss Neil Walker to devise a new solution to the problem. After the initial inception, Tonge teamed-up with Alan Maple from Maple Fleet in order to bring his design to life.

Commenting on the design process, Tonge said, “I remain very passionate about the subject of coupling accidents and, after witnessing an incident first-hand I was adamant I had the solution to stop this.”

The SafeConnect is reliable system that ensures that a trailers braking system is permanently applied throughout the coupling process. It works by blocking the airflow to the trailer via the emergency line, ensuring that the tractor and trailer cannot accidentally move whilst the driver is away from the cab.

The trailer brakes then cannot be released until the driver has returned to the cab and depressed the brake pedal. This helps to protect the driver when connecting the service line, as well as preventing trailer rollaway incidents. There are no additional procedures for the driver to carry out.

Maple technical director Alan Maple said, “It is my belief that SafeConnect is a must have for trailer operators. It’s easy to use, fail-safe in its operation and essentially it will save lives.”

SafeConnect only costs £250 and can be fitted in 30 minutes. This simple, cost effective, and practical solution has been recognized in a number of awards.

The SafeConnect has to date won the 2013 Motor Transport Innovation Award in July, and Maple Fleet Services have been shortlisted for two individual SHP-IOSH Awards, that will be announced on the 24th October.

Paul Nunn – Manager at Maple Fleet Services Specialists in Slam Locks

Categorized | Car News, Car Tips

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