View Full Version : Out of control trucks

Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 08:32
After Glasgae and Bath I do wonder if the problem may be automatic transmissions being increasingly fitted to commercial vehicles. The gearbox is an essential part of the control of a vehicle and automatic transmission removes that and gives the potential for an unconscious driver to accidentally give it full throttle. In a case like Bath you would just ram it into the lowest gear available.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Feb 2015, 09:01
Driver at Bath was 19 year old who'd just passed his HGV test. May or may not be significant, but it does indicate he wasn't very experienced.

Agree with your point about autos, though. Same for the large number of pensioner car accidents where throttle is floored instead of brake. These always seem to happen in automatic cars.

Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 09:13
I lived opposite the village pub. The 82 year old local dowager came off the car park in a XJ6 and ended up in my next door neighbour's front garden, having demolished their brick wall. I didn't think you could drive an HGV at nineteen, must be able to though or he would be hung,drawn and quartered by now.

14th Feb 2015, 09:18
Same for the large number of pensioner car accidents where throttle is floored instead of brake. These always seem to happen in automatic cars.

This happened a lot in the UK with the Volvo 300 series, which was basically a DAF.

A lot of old folk bought them believing they were buying into the Volvo reputation for safety, at a low price.
For many it was probably the first vehicle they had owned with automatic (CVT) transmission, and as a result many home garages ended up with a rear as well as a front entrance.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Feb 2015, 09:19
Old guy down the road from us backed out of his drive at about 30mph a few years ago, did a wide 180 turn smashing the sides of 2 parked cars in our road, careered backwards through the garden wall of the house opposite us, and stopped embedded boot-first in their lounge.

House needed extensive repairs!

Oh, and he was driving an auto!

14th Feb 2015, 09:29
Nearly demolished a few items in a supermarket car park a few years ago in a manual. Entering my slot at vigorous speed I discovered that:-
1. The ECU opens the throttle to compensate for power steering load when on lock
2. A poly bag on the tarmac persuaded the ABS that I was in danger of SKIDDING, and released the brakes.
Had I actually hit anything, I am certain that the opinion would have been "Silly old fool hit the wrong pedal" rather than "HAL does it again!"

14th Feb 2015, 10:27
The greatest problem with trucks is experience and people being in a hurry. The vast majority of so called "brake" failures is choosing the wrong gear, then missing it when trying to correct.

The auto transmission are no different in that you need to understand the transmission. For example in the old Allisons you needed to lock it in and make sure you where in lock up. The other gotcha was the lockup would disengaged on overspeed royally screwing you.

A lot of the newer autos (haven't had much to do with them) are constant mesh transmissions still, they just have automation gear on them, hence still have a clutch.

Flying Lawyer
14th Feb 2015, 10:40
Press reports that the Bath lorry driver had obtained his HGV/LGV licence just days before the accident have turned out to be untrue.

He'd obtained his LGV Cat 'C+E' entitling him to drive heavy artics a few days before the accident. (It used to be called an HGV Class 1.)
However, he wasn't using that additional qualification at the time of the accident.
He already held a Cat C which entitled him to drive the type of lorry involved. Under the old rules, that type required a Class 2.
(A basic lorry licence used to be a Class 3).

Much was made by the press of the fact that he was apparently very proud of obtaining his C+E/Class 1.
I don't criticise him if he was. I was chuffed when I got mine. :)


I've yet to hear the explanation for this accident which occurred in my home town.
The car involved emerged by a lay-by.


14th Feb 2015, 10:42
I didn't think you could drive an HGV at nineteen, ..............Yes I was surprised to read that, but I gather that the minimum age was lowered from 21 to 18 about five years ago.

Bid to attract young lorry drivers - BBC Newsbeat (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/10001544)


Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 11:30
An elderly aunt of a friend had a Daf. She arrived home one day and got out to open the garage door only to find the car following her in. It went right through and took out the back wall,ending in the garden.

14th Feb 2015, 11:43
Almost every transport company has got rid of the driver's mate, so there is now no way to pick up the experience that a more experienced driver can pass on. Unless, like my brother, you are prepared to work in the warehouse stacking (this gets round the employee insurance rule) and go out as a driver's mate for free on your own time. He did this off his own bat because he realised the experience was important. It paid off in the long run as he used to get difficult jobs like delivering in Central London with 40 ft artics, and there was an increasing bonus for no accidents.
However, it reached the point where there was no money in it, and more importantly the managers no longer cared about drivers, or even reality. Every traffic jam became the driver's fault. He quit and is a London Cabbie now.

14th Feb 2015, 11:47
I wonder if the truck in the Bath accident had a retarder ? failing that just grab the handbrake, mind you it's easy to criticise, very sad event though.

Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 12:00
On a one in five gradient with umpteen tons of gravel giving M.Gravity a considerable assistance I doubt the handbrake would be much use.

14th Feb 2015, 14:49
Very different, but..

Two winters ago, I turned into my 80 yard, steep downhill drive, braked and nothing happened! I was pointing directly at my house ahead, with garage to the left and grassy bank to the right. I decided to run it up the bank. It was surprising the amount of time I FELT I had to decide- I even considered that the car might roll off the bank if I was unlucky, but went with the choice.

What I'm getting at is whether the lad thought about sticking his 35 tonnes in a garden wall instead of sticking onthe road? Hindsight eh!


14th Feb 2015, 14:59
The lorry involved in the lethal Bath accident (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-somerset-31454693) was a tipper-truck. In hindsight, he might also have started tipping the load out. Which would have decreased the load on the hand-brake. Instead of apparently repeatedly hitting the horn button. Of course, you'd then have had an avalanche of gravel... :}

14th Feb 2015, 15:00
Then there's:- BBC News - Coach driver arrested after fatal crash on M1 near Flitwick (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-31469329)

Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 15:02
They will be fitted with a lock to prevent tipping whilst moving.

14th Feb 2015, 15:39
So a proper tipper-truck can't move (even slowly) forwards whilst tipping...?! :confused:

14th Feb 2015, 15:43
Another possibility as to this accident, the tipper lorry may have been loaded with gravel above it max carrying weight? Air brakes work on the principal (1990s) very high tensioned springs hold the shoes away from the drum by air pressure, it's a fail safe, loose air pressure and the shoe springs lock down the brake drum to slow down and bring the vehicle to a halt.

Effluent Man
14th Feb 2015, 16:39
Airship,, I don't know for sure but I very much doubt the possibility of tipping in normal driving is possible.

14th Feb 2015, 18:00
On hearing of the accident last week by way of a TV in a cafe, a friend remarked "I used to live round there and what you don't see in shot is the rest of the hill which goes on for a good distance at the same gradient". A steep hill, coupled with an inexperienced driver handling a heavily laden (20T ??) truck was a recipe for disaster. That the pedestrians were walking exactly where he completely lost control is one of those happenings that make you wonder. The driver would have been in such a blind panic as his vehicle ran out of control, perhaps his honking of the horn was all he could do. All round a very sad situation.


14th Feb 2015, 18:04
The legal gross weight (Mass) of the vehicle which crashed in Bath is 32 tonnes, and, yes, having followed the road on Streetview from the top down to the bottom, there is scope for excessive speed (despite the 30 mph limit):-


The gradient is posted as 20% (roughly 1 in 5 in old money).

What strikes me, though, is that the vehicle brakes would need to be in very poor condition not to be able to cope.
I make that comment as a retired commercial vehicle design and test engineer.

14th Feb 2015, 18:12
Engine braking - most diesel engined trucks have a compression release brake or Jake (Jacobs) Brake which releases compression from the diesel engine if the truck is in gear but no throttle is being applied. This achieves what engine braking does in a petrol engine. It works best if the driver has already selected a suitable fear for a long downward slope, for example. You can hear these brakes sometimes, as a sort of banging. It sounds as though the Bath driver wasn't using one, or if he was, he was in too high a gear for it to be properly effective.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Feb 2015, 18:26
Another possibility as to this accident, the tipper lorry may have been loaded with gravel above it max carrying weight? Air brakes work on the principal (1990s) very high tensioned springs hold the shoes away from the drum by air pressure, it's a fail safe, loose air pressure and the shoe springs lock down the brake drum to slow down and bring the vehicle to a halt.

That sounds highly unlikely - even a powerful spring wouldn't exert the pressure needed to work the brakes with enough power.

In the case of trains, air brakes use a reservoir (on each coach / waggon) which is topped up by compressed air from an engine driven pump via a 'train pipe' which runs the length of the train. When the brake is applied (by releasing the pressure in the train pipe via a valve in the driver's brake handle) the reservoir is disconnected from the train pipe by a distributor valve on each vehicle and connected to the air brake cylinders through a reducer valve to apply the brakes. This is fail safe as if the pump fails, or the train parts, the train pipe pressure will drop and the brakes will be applied.

14th Feb 2015, 18:48
The Jacobs brake is similar. A Diesel engine has valves but no throttle butterfly, so if the truck is moving in gear, with no accelerator applied, the brake will come on. A sort of decompression valve on two or more cylinders will open and the compression available will apply the brakes. From reading the report, it seems that either the truck didn't have such a brake, or the guy was in too high a gear for it to slow the truck enough.

Windy Militant
14th Feb 2015, 19:24
That sounds highly unlikely - even a powerful spring wouldn't exert the pressure needed to work the brakes with enough power.

We have These brake units (http://www.twiflex.com/Products_Main.asp) on our windturbine, air pressure holding them off so as mentioned they are fail safe. They are also used as brake units on truck and freight wagons. You can find torque graphs for the amount of braking force plus a safety factor there is also a graph showing the air pressure required to hold them off.
I don't know about vehicle use but we have quick blow exhausters fitted so if there's a drop in pressure the brakes come on immediately so the pads don't glaze or generate excessive heat by dragging on the disc if there's a partial pressure drop.

It's why you will see artics with locked trailer wheels being dragged down the road because they have lost pressure from a unit when a hose has blown off. The other units will stay off as long as the compressor and reservoir can keep ahead of the leak and keep the pressure up in the other units.

Edited to add a bit of goggling shows that they have dual action units these days that use the spring for parking and use pressure for the service brakes.

14th Feb 2015, 19:55
From hazy memory [ I used to frequently drive down a very steep hill (St Albans?) which had a nearside half-lane of gutter filled with sand for heavies to steer into if in difficulty.

Is it unique or are there others?

14th Feb 2015, 20:04
Current heavy trucks fitted with airbrakes will, indeed, have spring-operated brakes held off by air pressure that will 'apply' automatically in the event of loss of air supply.

These spring-brakes are, primarily, fitted as parking brakes and must be capable of holding a fully laden vehicle on the steepest gradient that the vehicle can climb. This means a force capable of retarding the vehicle on an equivalent gradient.

In addition, the spring-brake system must be capable of being applied dynamically (ie when the vehicle is in motion) and must provide sufficient retardation force to satisfy the secondary braking requirement in the event of failure of the vehicle service brakes.

Of course, this depends on the wheelbrakes being 'serviceable' and capable of providing the necessary retardation.

For a properly-maintained vehicle that would present no problem for a vehicle being driven at its legal maximum weight (Mass) down a gradient such as Lansdown Lane (a 1 in 5 gradient).

Any failure of the air supply or a hose failure would be within the capacity of the braking system to cope with any 'emergency' - unless the wheelbrakes (friction linings) were grossly overheated and/or badly adjusted or worn out.

IMO it is unlikely that, even being relatively new to truck driving (though experienced driving agricultural tractors) that this driver would not be aware of the limitations of his vehicle.

Of course, a long steep descent with excessive use of the brakes rather than using appropriate gears could 'cook' poorly-maintained brakes to the extent of not working adequately to slow this vehicle, but, as stated, he was, apparently from a farming background and had driven agricultural vehicles which are much more susceptible to poor braking - requiring the use of appropriate gears.

Yes, I can imagine a situation where foolish driving at excessive speed down a long steep gradient might cause brake failure, but I would be surprised if this was the case her - unless the wheelbrakes were very poorly maintained.

Even if (as has been hinted at) the vehicle was overloaded, then it would require extremely foolish behaviour to result in this tragic event.

Of course, as we know, 'holes in the cheese' do line up and cause 'accidents' (which are, rarely, accidents as such - there is usually a cause).

Just my opinion of course - I would need more evidence to be conclusive.

As mentioned earlier, I spent many years designing, driving and testing heavy goods vehicles, including 'failure analysis' of events that caused vehicle failures.
Some of the actions of some of the professional drivers were beyond belief - like disabling the brakes of a broken-down vehicle that had stopped on a steep hill without placing chocks or anchoring the vehicle to a tow-truck - the vehicle careered down the hill, fortunately without injury or colliding with another vehicle.

14th Feb 2015, 20:08
a nearside half-lane of gutter filled with sand for heavies to steer into if in difficulty.
Is it unique or are there others?

There are many such 'safety lanes'. Just hope that no numpty has parked in the way!



Although there are reports from 'neighbours' of heavy vehicles using Lansdown Lane, there is no weight limit applied - merely a width restriction (which this vehicle exceeded) and warning signs to 'engage low gear, steep hill ahead' - normal warnings for such terrain.


No doubt this incident will result in stronger measures (it has been claimed that the width restriction sign is missing and had not been replaced).


Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Feb 2015, 20:17
So HGVs have secondary spring-applied air brakes (held off by air) primarily for use when parked, or to supplement the service brake (which is presumably applied by air) in any situation of failure of air supply?

14th Feb 2015, 20:38
So HGVs have secondary spring-applied air brakes (held off by air) primarily for use when parked, or to supplement the service brake (which is presumably applied by air) in any situation of failure of air supply?
Yes. . . .

14th Feb 2015, 20:59
When taking the driving test for this type of vehicle, is the test taken with the vehicle loaded to max gross weight or unladen?

It strikes me that this young lad may have been taken by surprise by the effect of gravity (going down a steep hill) on a fully loaded vehicle.

14th Feb 2015, 21:02
I've lived in Bath, twice. There are many steep hills, so a general ban on trucks on steep hills is unlikely to be practical. It's also a World Heritage site, so knocking down buildings to build escape lanes is rarely possible either.

It's a difficult one.

14th Feb 2015, 21:44
Jacobs (Jake) brakes are a good thing, but nowhere good enough to pull up an out of control truck. Not sure about these days but European engines didn't usually have them. Though not sure about the large Scanias, as the Mack engines where derived from them.

There many types of retarders around, some very good, but weight penaltys, hence not popular. It doesn't get away from the basic fact of correct driving technique, your brakes are not a retarder. At maximun weight you have limited amount of uses out of them before you loose control, "brake fade" Drum brakes are notorious for it, though the new modern disks should suffer less from it.

Spring brakes "Maxi brakes". All road going vehicles must be able to stop in an emergency within the standards, with loss of air, hence trucks, trailers are fitted with enough brake chambers with spring backup sections.

Flying Lawyer
14th Feb 2015, 21:49


Unless the rules have changed since I took my test.
I don't think they have.

14th Feb 2015, 22:35
In 1969 my RAF driving instructor had one golden rule - go DOWN a hill in the same gear that you would use to go UP the hill.

14th Feb 2015, 22:42
In 1969 my RAF driving instructor had one golden rule - go DOWN a hill in the same gear that you would use to go UP the hill.

That rule has been around since Noah was a boy, has a couple of systematic gotchas.

Retarders screws with it. And unkown gradients, then coupled with cowboys (no insult intended to the yanks:p)

14th Feb 2015, 22:47
The attitude of at least some transport companies, according to my brother, is that brake pads are a lot cheaper than gearboxes.

14th Feb 2015, 23:18
A most tragic event.

How do the latest design truck brakes hold up in real life. Was looking at a brand new B double(prime mover with 2 trailers), 90,000 kg max weight. It had Meritor disc brakes, ABS on all wheels and a brake temp indicating system. The brakes disks were huge, some serious hardware, the driver said they were brilliant.

Has anyone had experience with these new systems.

Meritor Defense (http://www.meritor.com/products/defense/defense_brakes_airdisc.aspx)

15th Feb 2015, 00:24
Has anyone had experience with these new systems.
Not really - such systems were very much preliminary one-off prototypes that we tested in the Austrian/German highlands.
The results were not as positive as anticipated, but, as I said, they were very early one-offs, so some weakness was only to be anticipated.

15th Feb 2015, 01:03
Let me amend the above comment.

Before I got my hands on samples to test, I got to drive an Italian (?) system which refused to fade.
The fully laden test vehicle was driven up our steepest test gradient then down at speed 'abusing' the brakes, then backup the test gradient.
By the time I reached the top the temperatures were back down to 'normal' so I was unable to induce any temperature fade.
However, it was discovered that the vehicle was hugely overbraked and unlikely to be economically viable for production.

My later tests were of systems that were considered viable, but the materials were as-yet unproven and needed development (as with almost any prototype system, you rarely hit on the correct specification from the start - especially with 'new' technology).

Shortly afterwards I left that project and moved from brakes to automated mechanical transmissions.
Most commercial vehicles today have that option if not as standard.

galaxy flyer
15th Feb 2015, 01:39

Why haven't HGV gone to hydraulics for braking systems? Surely, they could design a system powerful enough to do the job.

15th Feb 2015, 01:44
I really don't know.


15th Feb 2015, 02:46
I no longer live in the UK and my HGV test was unladen. But, I believe the law was changed a few years ago and as far as I know from friends in the UK the current test is to be a box/tipper body (to get used to the lack of visibility) an with the vehicle at/close to GVM.
I believe the same rules apply to the trailer (class E) test.

15th Feb 2015, 04:11
That sounds highly unlikely - even a powerful spring wouldn't exert the pressure needed to work the brakes with enough power.
Wrong. Spring-operated, "Maxibrake" brake boosters have been used as emergency braking on prime movers (truck-tractors to our U.S. friends), since the early 1960's.
It is compulsory to have them fitted to all heavy trucks, to apply the brakes in the event of total loss of air pressure.

Maxibrakes are so effective, they will lock all wheels on a fully-loaded semi-trailer at 100kmh - as evidenced by the occasional lengthy semi tyre skidmarks you will see on the roads, if you ever visit Australia.

John Hill
15th Feb 2015, 04:21
I dont think I have ever seen lengthy skid marks from all wheels locked on a truck and trailer(s), but then I wouldnt expect them the be lengthy as with all wheels locked the ensemble should come to a halt in a short distance.

What I have often seen are long skid marks which look like one or two axles having been locked.

Flying Lawyer
15th Feb 2015, 06:12

You are correct.
The requirements have changed since I did my artic test - about 20 years ago.

Minimum load requirements here:


porch monkey
15th Feb 2015, 06:19
I'm sure that's what onetrack meant John. You will get a single pair failing, locking on. Each pair of wheels has it's own spring and air chamber. Most common failure is split/ruptured/lost air hose for that pair of wheels. Very unusually, loss of air to the trailer would result in all trailer wheels locking.

15th Feb 2015, 07:08
When fully loaded and good traction, the brakes will have to be in pristine condition to lock under maxis. When a failure occurs, it really depends upon the system as to what comes on.

Essentially if you have enough of a failure to lead to a drastic pressure drop, the valves will generally pop all the brakes on, there is a good reason for that. In essence, you at full mass only have a particular amount of time to stop, or the brakes become less effective.

As such, just having a couple of wheels coming on is not a good idea, and believe it or not, can be missed under some circumstances.

As for brake fade, generally a drum brake thing, still the majority over here. Hence they don't wear as much when they get hot. In essence, they protect themselves, but the truck may be a mangled wreck at the bottom of the hill.

Disk brakes, a bit more Kamakazi like, depending on the material they can get brake fade, but will generally destroy themselves trying to stop you. ironically it was one of the reasons they where not adopted decades ago, to expensive.

15th Feb 2015, 07:26
From hazy memory [ I used to frequently drive down a very steep hill (St Albans?) which had a nearside half-lane of gutter filled with sand for heavies to steer into if in difficulty.

Is it unique or are there others?

Yep. Adelaide in South Australia is at the bottom of a notoriously long grade. There are regular gravel ramps for runaway trucks to use, with a big sign on the last one saying 'LAST ONE!'. Using one is no doubt no fun, but it would be better than killing yourself or others. The trouble is that the government charges $4000 to re-rake one every time it's used.

Our axle load limit on articulated vehicles is 9 tonnes per axle. We have a lot of what we call B-Doubles. These usually have a prime mover with 10 wheels (2 steering wheels and 2 axles with 2 wheels each, pulling a trailer with up to 24 wheels (4 wheels per axle), towing a shorter trailer usually with 2 axles and 8 wheels. All are air braked.

Road trains are only used outside the city and are bigger again8. The biggest I've seen is a prime mover with a full length trailer, towing two more full length trailers. People tend to stay out off their way. (F=ma)

I too was told to go down a hill in the same gear you came up it, especially when using the Jake brake. An old truckie told our driving class that he could get a fully loaded truck down 'our hill' in good time with no use of the brakes at all, then he showed us. Very impressive. He said brake failure is invariably driver error, and he said he wouldn't employ a driver who used the brakes too much.

That's fair enough in the country, but in our cities, it's illegal to use Jake brakes.

15th Feb 2015, 07:35
It would be a workshop job to couple up the trailers.
With air brakes. if you spill some air or get air in the system - NO problem!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
15th Feb 2015, 08:41
onetrack - no, it appears you are wrong. Go back a page and read the relevant posts. Spring brakes are for parking and emergency back-up, not for primary braking.

You see long skid marks on UK motorways as well, usually caused by a trailer tyre failing (the bits of tyre are around as well!).

15th Feb 2015, 09:17
Shaggy, I didn't say that spring brakes were for primary braking. I merely refuted your statement that "even a powerful spring wouldn't exert the pressure needed to work the brakes with enough power" - which I interpreted to read that no spring-operated brake could bring a moving truck to a standstill.

However the springs inside Maxibrake brake boosters (which are held off by adequate air pressure - usually in excess of 60 psi or 413kPa) are fully capable of bringing a loaded moving truck to a halt when the braking system air pressure fails.

I might add, I have held an articulated vehicle licence since 1969 (one could not acquire an artic licence until one was 20 years of age in Australia, in those days) - and I have regularly driven articulated trucks grossing over 130 tonnes (286,500lbs).
In addition, I have also removed, dis-assembled, repaired, and replaced many brake boosters of various types.

15th Feb 2015, 11:51
dis-assembled, repaired, and replaced many brake boosters of various types.

That would only have been before the importing of the cheapo after market ones.:p Basically not worth the effort and cost of a new diaphragm.

15th Feb 2015, 13:00
rh200 - Yes, that repair work was quite a few years ago. You also get exactly what you pay for, when you buy cheap aftermarket brake boosters. You get half the build quality for half the price.
A lot of the buyers of the "el-cheapo" brake boosters have gone back to the genuine product, after they find the effort of installing a poor quality product that doesn't perform to an acceptable level, doesn't pay in the long run.

15th Feb 2015, 14:49
When I lived in Bath there was a similar tragedy there when a loaded cement lorry lost control down a hill and overturned onto a Triumph Herald. Both in the front seats were killed as the car was flattened but as the car was being taken to the scrapyard a noise was heard and a child was found alive in a carrycot wedged between the front and rear seats.

15th Feb 2015, 16:19
There is a lot of mis-information floating about in this thread!

Some Bedford Y series chassis coaches had spring brakes at the rear which were the service brakes as well as the parking brakes. If poorly adjusted they would snatch like crazy and when properly adjusted they were very powerful brakes. If you were unused to them and a little heavy footed they would take you by surprise - I know because I regularly used to drive one!

Someone questioned why hydraulic brakes are not used. Many Ford chassis coaches in the 1970s had air over hydraulic systems. i.e. air assisted hydraulic braking. They worked but were nowhere near as effective as pure air driven brakes. That situation may well have changed. Do any large vehicles have hydraulic braking systems these days?

As far as engine braking was concerned in the days when I was taught the philosophy was a suitable low gear for descending steep gradients but in general driving use the brakes to slow before selecting the appropriate gear to accelerate away. Same is taught for advanced motorcycle riding and I have no doubt advanced car driving as well. It was not taught to use progressively lower gears to slow a vehicle down.

15th Feb 2015, 22:17
Re your last paragraph, were/are reasons WHY given?

I'm afraid I never did buy the one about brakes being cheaper than gearboxes.
Without doubt they are - but in many years of professional and competition driving, I've never had to rebuild a gearbox for that reason.

15th Feb 2015, 22:52
There have been many different configurations of braking systems over the years. They all have to comply with the codes of the markets they are going into. The change from pre ADR 38 to ADR 38 rules over here had some interesting combinations.

In effect it doesn't matter what the manufacturers use its up to whether they comply. This can lead to odd configurations of axles with or with out spring brake chambers, as all the vehicle has to do, is maintain a minimum standard.

As such the manufacturer will trade off performance, both in reliability and weight to gain what ever they think can sell their product. There is always a transition period when new technologies come out.

For example ABS disk brakes offer far more safety, in a proper truck trailer configuration, I hear up to 30% improvement in stopping distance. Why don't we all just mandate a change, economics! Some time in the future after natural attrition of the old, there will be a mandated change, but it will be a natural one. Then the day of the heavy vehicle drum brake will be at an end.

But it won't stop stupid, its all about energy and how quick you can dissipate it.

16th Feb 2015, 03:49
Over 95% of truck accidents are caused purely and simply by the nut holding the wheel. Official stats state that only around 1% of accidents are mechanically-related.
So many truck drivers lack adequate experience and skills, and drive trucks like they're cars.
Tailgating, excessive speed for the conditions, and failing to foresee and react to dangerous developing traffic conditions, are the primary cause of most truck accidents.

We regularly have truck rollovers at intersections in the city, where the road layout and conditions are superb, and these can be sheeted home purely to excessive speeds around the corners.
Too many truck drivers have a "pedal to the metal" mentality, and will refuse to back off the loud pedal, when it's imperative to do so.
Naturally, traffic congestion and employer pressure to meet schedules all add their part.

Truck driver training needs to be upgraded to sort out those who have the right outlook towards driving skills and attitudes before any truck driver training is commenced.
At least one transport company here in Oz that does East-West transport using roadtrains and B-doubles refuses to hire any truck driver under the age of 25 - with good reason.
A lot of young men do not have the maturity and correct attitude towards driving a large truck, and have inadequate understanding of the consequences of careless or reckless driving, when they are in charge of multiple tonnes of steel hurtling down a highway at 80, 90, or 100kmh.

16th Feb 2015, 08:21
The job doesn't pay enough any more to get sufficient skilled individuals into it.
The same is true of quite a few trades, including airline pilots in my opinion.

The trend seems to be for a bunch of old guys, either still on decent contracts or with no other options, and a bunch of young kids with too many having the wrong attitude. And neither group talks to the other. I had this problem expressed to me recently by the manager of an aero engine repair facility. They do pay enough to get decent kids, but have a real problem with the transfer of experience.

17th Feb 2015, 08:08
Breaking news

BBC News - Bath fatal tipper truck crash police arrest two men (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-31499753)

victor tango
17th Feb 2015, 17:37
Vulcanised reyr #28

I think there is a slip escape off the road down a steep hill into Poole ??
anyway , down that part of the world. I was busy concentrating on he gradient to study it but it went off at a slight angle, dont know if there was any sand but vaguely think I saw a wooden barrier at the end of a 100 yard run.

17th Feb 2015, 18:08
Two arrested? One would suspect either overloading or a known defect, with the other individual being the dispatcher or mechanic.

17th Feb 2015, 18:30
I have been revisiting this case.

By trawling t'internet, there are accounts that the truck 'failed to stop' when the girl and her grandmother 'crossed the road'.
Allegedly, a bus stopped at the light-controlled pedestrian crossing, and, unable to stop and, to avoid crashing into the bus, the truck swerved around the bus and struck the pedestrians.


Given the gradient at the location (not where the vehicle ended up but further up the hill), the load carried, and the previous descent (not inconsiderable) - probably involving constant use of the brakes - it is conceivable that a combination of fade and poor adjustment contributed to brake failure.

That the vehicle eventually ended up about two hundred yards further down the hill, having collided with several cars, tends to confirm the 'brake failure' analysis.

Whether that was due to poor maintenance, poor driving, overloading (or a combination of these factors) will remain to be proved by the DVSA investigation.

The above is speculation of course, but I can now see how it would be possible for circumstances to contrive together to create the events that occurred.

18th Feb 2015, 15:15
I still maintain the lorry was overloaded with gravel/hard core. Having worked years ago on reclamation sites It's very hard to judge the weight loaded via the bucket of the loading machine. eg. a JCB front bucket load would be a max 2.1 tons give or take some leeway.

The problem, on site loading of trucks cannot calculate efficiently the max weight when loading, nor can it. The rule of thumb, bucket load x weight load on the lorry. Pound to a penny the truck was overloaded.

18th Feb 2015, 15:19
Commercial quarries will have an on-site weighbridge - so that the 'customer' can be charged for the aggregate.

18th Feb 2015, 15:29
G-CPTN... Have I missed something about a quarry?

18th Feb 2015, 15:32
The 'gravel' was being led from Hills Quarry near Cirencester - ie not direct from the vehicle operating depot.

Windy Militant
18th Feb 2015, 20:11
I seem to recall reading about some wagons now having load cells on the body to give an estimate on how much they have on board, much as cranes have to prevent tipping over by lifting too much.
Also these days VOSA use load cell scales to do roadside testing so they don't need a waybridge, they can set up in a convenient lay by and waylay so to speak the guys that in the old days would have diverted around the waybridge station. Saw them in the motorway services the other day, was also on the BBC West news a while back where they ran out how many had been caught running overloaded or with defects and I think a couple of guys didn't have licences.
Some large firms will have a set of these as the wagons leave the site along with a wheel check and wash. The latter is close to my heart as I got hit by a chunk of concrete which was spat out from between the tyres of a wagon. He was going the opposite way to me but the chunk went through the triplex screen, left me with nineteen stitches and punched a quarter inch dent upwards in the roof from the inside of the car before bouncing off the rear squab and hiding under the passenger seat. :ouch:
Had I been sitting a bit straighter in my seat I wouldn't be here now!

18th Feb 2015, 23:41
WM - Wow, that kind of experience would have sent me looking for a lottery ticket directly afterwards!
When I was tipper-truck driving in my much younger days, one was trained to always stop and check between the duals for stones and stumps, before entering any high-speed carriageway.

The thing I fear most, is sizeable items falling from unsecured positions on truck and commercial vehicle trays. Just recently a motorcyclist was killed on a local freeway when a wheelbarrow fell off a builders vehicle.
"Insecure load" is a serious chargeable traffic offence here - but the highways are littered with debris that regularly falls off trucks.
I have seen star pickets, chunks of steel, timber gluts, hay bales, tyres and wheels, and 100 other items littering the roadways over the years.

One evening just on dusk around 1990, on a main country highway, heading West into nautical twilight in my Ford Falcon station wagon, I sighted something barely visible on the road surface in the gloom ahead, and backed off the loud pedal and stood on the brakes.
It was a wise move - what I had barely sighted, was an entire truck spare wheel carrier frame, that had broken off and fallen onto the centre of my lane! Hitting that at 110kmh would have been disastrous.

A friend moved to the East Coast of Australia and was traveling at night on a country highway in QLD.
His vehicle was found crashed off the edge of the road, with said friend deceased inside, with major head/facial injuries that were not possible from the crash.
Further investigation found a large chunk of steel inside his vehicle, that had fallen off a passing truck, went straight through his windscreen, and hit him right in the face.
The offending truck and truck driver were never found or identified.

19th Feb 2015, 00:04
My cousin and aunt were on the M6 following a truck when its tailgate opened, shedding the entire load of used tires. After 2 months in hospital, they both made a full recovery, thankfully.

Back to the point. How many companies give their drivers the time to secure and check their vehicles properly these days? I could, courtesy of my ex-truck-driving brother, list a few that don't.

19th Feb 2015, 10:47
Back in the early nineties I was a bin man in South East England. All our larger trucks were fitted with load cells on the front and rear axles, with a display unit in the cab. The only problem was that they were utterly useless, as a couple of our other drivers discovered after being checked by the traffic plod at one of the local weighbridges. We weren't allowed to use them after that.

Had one incident where I took over someone else's flatbed loaded with planks. There was a misunderstanding and I drove off with the load not secured at all. Fortunately one of our other drivers spotted it a few hundred yards up the road before I'd lost any. A valuable lesson to a younger me, that was.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
19th Feb 2015, 14:56
It seems the HGV industry is populated by cowboys. A friend of a friend had just joined the M56 and was accelerating up to centre-lane traffic speed on his Honda Blackbird motorcycle when a set of step ladders fell off the truck in front, and he hit them at about 60mph. He spent many months in hospital and is yet to fully recover (indeed, he may not).

Touching wood my own experience to date was trivial by comparison - a large metal bolt fell off a low loader I was passing on that same motorway, bounced into the carriageway in front of me and was headed right at me. I braked, it hit the two offside headlamps instead of coming through the windscreen. A 150 repair bill was preferable to being speared in the face, but that HGV operator (I was too busy staying alive to get his number) didn't pay it.

Careless bastards!

19th Feb 2015, 16:57
And then there are the usually careful operators who inadvertanly cause an accident. Ultimately, it's their fault of course.

I can't remember the location, but a very experienced low-loader driver in the UK had secured a JCB and measured the height as was his usual practice, as the route from his yard regularly took him under a small, low railway bridge. He made this measurement the night before starting his journey. While he was away, another employee raised the JCB boom a few inches to remove a blade from the bucket. The driver returned to his truck the following morning and not long after leaving the yard the JCB boom struck the railway bridge and pushed the track out of alignment. He went up onto the line, and with a choice of running one way or the other to warn any oncoming trains, he went the wrong way. There was a serious derailment. Awful for him, he'd been concientiously doing his job for years and had done the right thing on this occasion too, but hadn't re-checked before setting off. I don't know if he was charged with any traffic offence. I guess he was as he admitted it was his responsibility.

Edit: It was Oyne, Aberdeenshire, 1978. The only bridgestrike to have caused a derailment in the UK. Seven injured, no fatalities apparently! There are some pictures on the web.

19th Feb 2015, 17:29
Back to the point. How many companies give their drivers the time to secure and check their vehicles properly these days? I could, courtesy of my ex-truck-driving brother, list a few that don't.

Occasionally you still see a load on a long flatbed truck or trailer entirely and tightly secured with tarps and rope ties. It's a work of art, especially if it's wet and the truck is speeding along with not a flap of canvas or the loss of the smallest part of the load. The 'truckies' knot' or Spanish windlass is a wonderful thing.

Windy Militant
19th Feb 2015, 18:44
I thought it was a dolly knot or drivers dolly! I had a mate who could tie it one handed faster than you could see what he was doing, never did manage to do that myself.
I thought a Spanish windlass was a ... er no that was a Portugese hand pump. :O
Ahem a Spanish windlass was a twisted loop that chippies used to pull frames together.

A friend once worked for a firm that had one trailer in perfect nick which did nothing but go for tests. They just swapped the ID plates from the rest of the fleet.

20th Feb 2015, 03:29
I used to do contract road works (constructing haul roads) for Gascoyne Trading, a large trucking company in Boulder, W.A., (Kalgoorlie) during the early to mid 1980's.
It wasn't unusual for a sizeable number of their tipper trailers to be regularly unregistered. However, the trucking industry is more tightly scrutinised today, they wouldn't escape with that for long nowadays.

The manager of Gascoyne Trading in Boulder was a real character, his name was "Dasher" Deans - and it was a truckies nickname well-earned.
I remember one accident episode that Dasher related to me, that was hilarious in his re-telling of it.

Dasher was running a loaded double roadtrain tipper (grossing about 75 tonnes) from Kambalda to Kalgoorlie, in the late 1970's, along the best new highway in the region, the Kalgoorlie-Kambalda Rd.
He said he was just purring along happily at around 85kmh - when all of sudden he was jarred into a state of fright, as he was bombarded with screeching, crashing and banging sounds, accompanied by a huge jerk!
He looked in his RH rear vision mirror, and was astounded to view a VW Beetle standing upright on its rear bumper, doing rapid rotations along the side of the second tipper trailer!!

The Beetle bounced out into the scrub alongside the highway, rolling over several times, accompanied by an explosion of glass, metal and plastic parts, and a shower of papers as well!

Horrified, Dasher screeched to a halt, and jumped out and ran back to the wrecked Beetle. As he was running, he was even more horrified to see a gentleman out of the car, on his hands and knees, crawling around on the ground!
Dasher was appalled by this stage. He was thinking, "I've written off a car, I don't even know how it happened, and it looks like this bloke is so badly injured, he can't even walk!!"

He approached the gent, and the victim was uttering jibberish as he crawled around. Dasher was flummoxed, he couldn't understand the bloke, and kept asking him, "Are you alright, mate!!?? .. are you alright??" ..

After a couple of minutes, he managed to get some sense out of the bloke. It turned out the VW driver (who was alone in his car), was a Chinese student.
This explained the shower of papers - the Beetle was full of his study books and papers!

He normally wore Coke-bottle glasses - and he'd lost them in the crash! He couldn't see a thing!
He was uninjured, but on his hands and knees, crawling around trying to find his glasses - and talking to himself in shock, in Chinese!! - essentially saying to himself, "Where's my glasses?? I've got to find my glasses!!"

They finally found his glasses and Dasher then tried to reconstruct what happened.
The Chinese student said he blew the LH front tyre on the VW, just as he was halfway through an overtaking manouevre.
After that, he was a little hazy on what had happened.
Examination of the VW showed a set of dual truck wheel imprints right over the LH front of the VW's bonnet!

Dasher went back and checked his second trailer for damage, and rapidly understood what had happened.
The VW had swerved hard left immediately after the LHF tyre blowout.
This had sent the front of the VW directly into the gap between the two trailers, where the second trailer drawbar was located.

The leading tandem bogie of the second trailer had run up over the VW bonnet at about 45, squashing it into the road - whereupon, the VW rolled over and was spat out behind the bogie!
The VW promptly stood up against the side of the second trailer as it was spat out, and then it spun its way around several times in a neat vertical pirouette - right down the full length of the second trailer!! (about 10 metres).
As it hit the end upright of the trailer body, it was cartwheeled out across the highway, ending in the explosion of glass, plastic, metal parts and papers, that Dasher was shocked to see!

The Chinese student was uninjured, if a little shocked - the VW was a total write-off - and the Chinese bloke apparently spent the next few hours trying to get all his study paperwork and books, back into some sort of order!

20th Feb 2015, 06:23
So the Chinese student was "disoriented" then, was he?

20th Feb 2015, 12:15
Yes, that's right! I believe he also had to disCARd his Beetle, and re-orient his direction of studies! :ok: