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Distribution firm invests £75,000 in tech to help prevent accidents on the road

A safety-conscious distribution firm has invested £75,000 on fitting five cameras to all its vehicles to eliminate blind spots and help prevent accidents with other road users.

The latest investment by Wrexham Industrial Estate-based McCarthy Distribution is believed to be a North Wales first and was the brainchild of Managing Director Mike McCarthy who is a keen cyclist.

Mike enlisted the help of a Blackburn-based specialist company, Vision Techniques, to ensure his drivers and heavy goods fleet had the latest technology to help with ‘blind spots’.

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The result is that every McCarthy Distribution vehicle, big and small, has been fitted with the network of cameras linked up to two in-cab screens for the driver to view. One camera has been fitted at the rear for reversing, two look down at each front corner to cover the driver blind spots at the front of the vehicle and a fourth is on the front filming the road ahead.

The fifth camera streams footage from the left hand side looking rearwards to help drivers see anything coming up the inside of their vehicle, in particular as they prepare to turn left.

In addition, as the driver activates his left indicator, an alarm is activated which sets off a flashing bright orange light at low level and an audible alarm which warns other road users that the vehicle is turning left.

The aim of the new technology is to help drivers see obstacles, vehicles and other road users including pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists who can be particularly vulnerable.

Mike, who cycles around 200 miles a week, said: “I know as a cyclist myself how vulnerable you can be on the road. It’s a hugely popular sport now, made increasingly so by the high profile success of sports stars like Geraint Thomas.

“It’s not just cyclists but other vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians and obstacles which our drivers always take great care to watch out for as they navigate our trucks around the region.

“It was with this in mind that I decided to work with our drivers and a specialist company to improve the equipment we had on board so our trucks can operate as safely as possible.

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“There is no law which states we have to have this equipment on board but as a transport company who takes our responsibilities to other road users very seriously, this felt like the right thing to do to support our conscientious drivers and to guard against accidents.”

McCarthy Distribution Driver Kevin Mogg has worked for the firm for 11 years and has been trained by the company to drive their largest 44-tonne trucks.

Kevin of Acrefair, Wrexham, said: “The new cameras are an excellent addition and they give me a lot of peace of mind when I am out on the road.

“Your training and experience gives you a lot of skill and confidence but it is always in the forefront of your mind that it’s a big vehicle and you have to be so aware all of the time of what’s around you.

“Having the added security of the cameras, especially for the blind spots, really does help – particularly when you are turning left which is a time when you are very aware of potential accidents.

“I have known cyclists to be by the side of me while we wait at the lights or something, leaning on the truck curtain, so if you can see quite visibly that something like this is happening, then that can only be a good thing.

“I have also noticed how effective the alarm is. People can be going along in their own world sometimes and the alarm makes them stop and watch to see what I am doing. I have seen this happen several times with pedestrians walking close by to the truck and it’s reassuring that I can see they are aware of me.”

McCarthy Distribution was set up in its current guise 25 years ago and now employs 75 people and has a 30-strong fleet of vehicles.

It has recently built a new £3m headquarters and warehouse, thought to be one of the tallest warehouses in North Wales, which has more than doubled its capacity. It was built in response to increasing demand for warehouse space from firms moving their products around the UK and importing goods from overseas.

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