Manufacturers should provide hauliers with tractor unit designs that give drivers improved visibility from their cabs, British Gypsum has said.
“We want to find someone to take the next step and give us improved visibility in a tractor unit, which is something we haven’t seen yet,” said Brian Fisher, distribution manager at the building materials firm, which is a Clocs champion.
“We are looking for the next piece of tractor unit innovation. We’ve seen a lot on rigids and on tippers, but we are predominantly an artic fleet, so for us the vision piece is around artics.”
Fisher said the pace of change to address better visibility is too slow, with not enough options on the market to enable operators to plan their fleet upgrades.
“We’re buying trucks every five years and will do a fleet change in around 18 months. If there isn’t anything on the market then, it won’t be on the fleet for another five years after that. This is the challenge,” he said.
Fisher’s view was last week echoed by London operator O’Donovan Waste Disposal which urged manufacturers to work faster in providing sector-specific solutions to meet the capital’s pending Direct Vision Standard.
To ensure its core subcontractor is as safe as possible, British Gypsum already specifies additional low-level passenger door window panels on new vehicles, which are supported by cameras to eliminate blind spots.
In a recent Driver of the Year competition run by parent firm Saint Gobain, Fisher said he spent 20 minutes in one of its trucks fitted with window panels and cameras trying to find a blind spot, but was unable to do so.
However, in some truck models, the position of the passenger seat can be problematic in obscuring direct vision even with an additional window panel, he added.
“The industry has got to change this. You need to be able to go straight to a manufacturer and say I want a Fors gold tractor unit,” added Fisher.
Last month British Gypsum said it would be mandating that all subcontractors entering its customers’ sites hold Fors silver status within the next 12 months.
- This story originally appeared in the 17 November issue. Why not subscribe and get 12 issues for just £12?