VicRoads equips fleet with reverse braking technology

New safety technology will be rolled out across the VicRoads maintenance fleet

VicRoads equips fleet with reverse braking technology
Reverse Smart's technology helps VicRoads avoid accidents.


After successfully completing a six month trial, VicRoads will update its road maintenance fleet with radar-based reverse braking technology in an effort to stamp out employee injuries.

The automated technology from Reverse Smart, trialled on a patrol truck and tip truck, senses when an object is behind the vehicle and, if reverse is initiated, automatically applies airbrakes.

Between 2003 and 2012, Safe Work Australia says 18 workers were killed in incidents involving reversing trucks in the workplace. 

In the last 48 hours, according to reports, a reversing truck driven by a prison officer claimed the life of an inmate at the Hakea Prison in Canning Vale, Western Australia.

VicRoads chief executive, John Merritt, believes incidents of this nature can be avoided with the technology, which is standard in new vehicles in Europe, Japan and the US.

"Safety in the workplace is of the upmost importance and this technology will significantly improve safe working conditions for VicRoads employees," Merritt says.

"The safety of our people and members of the public is paramount and the autonomous braking system will make a difference."

The partnership between VicRoads and Reverse Smart has been running longer than the six month trial, Reverse Smart business manager Davin Hamnett says, with the technology company helping VicRoads solve previous issues in the area.

"Truck and plant reversing accidents was the biggest problem they were experiencing from an OH&S perspective," Hamnett says, "and [they] had trialled some other related technologies previously – with obvious poor results."

The company has worked in the space for a number of years, he says, but needed to come up with a suitable product for heavy vehicle and plant operators.

"Given the varied operating conditions that this type of heavy equipment works within, and that we are trying to protect fragile workers behind them, it becomes obvious that the sensing technology needs to be a premium product," he says. 

"With all of these factors in consideration, Radar detection ticks all the boxes."

The road authority will share its trail data with transport groups and fleet operators in an effort to advance its use within the industry.

"We believe this technology will significantly reduce worksite risks and we hope it will become standard across the industry," Merritt says.

"Our dedication to workplace safety never ends and VicRoads will continue to consider any new technology which may save lives."


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