Anti-runaway brakes from Renault Trucks

04 January 2017

One of the world’s leading tuck manufacturers has introduced an innovative Anti-Runaway Automated Park Brake (Anti-RAPB) to eliminate the risk of uncontrolled vehicle movements caused by human error when a truck is idling or static.

Developed in the UK in conjunction with a major fleet operator and the company’s engineering HQ in Lyon, France, Renault Trucks is introducing the safety back-up device 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 3kmh (1.8mph), 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,” said 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 Health and Saftey Eexecutive (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. The first 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 said, “We are committed to developing technology that provides safer environments for drivers, their colleagues and other road users. This device will provide a critical safety intervention in the event of an emergency.”