Hino 500 Series medium truck. ESC & reversing camera now standard. At last trucks are catching up

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I had the pleasure of driving a four and a half tonne truck around a figure eight skid pan the other day on full throttle.

Hino were happy to let me have a fling in their new 500 series wide cab because it now had a range of new safety features.  Foremost of these was electronic stability control across the entire 500 series range.

Hino noted that research by the US NHTSA estimates that approximately 2/3 of truck occupancy fatalities in US are a result of a roll over.  Hino also said that in Queensland 20% of road fatalities involved a truck and of these 30% were due to loss of control or roll over.

Electronic stability control which can detect if the vehicle is in a skid or in this case about to topple over and can back off the throttle and apply breaks to individual wheels in order to help re-gain control.  It would seem obvious that this technology should be made mandatory on trucks especially as the large variation in loads can significantly affect the handling of the vehicle.

The other feature that is now standard on the 500 series trucks is a reversing camera.   I did a reverse parking exercise back up to a movable plastic barrier with an egg on top.  If you hit the barrier and broke the egg you were deemed to.  I didn’t break the egg but I could have been a bit straighter in my parking!

The camera seemed to focus very closely on the clearance to the rear of the truck and did not give the broader view that I am use to in passenger vehicles that can be used to see a wide field of vision especially to help identify the location of pedestrians.  But it is a start.  Again I think this technology should become standard on all trucks.

I have driven a number of cars recently with full 360 degree camera coverage That shows pedestrians, objects and lane markings around the vehicle which is excellent for parking vehicles.  I much prefer this to automatic parking systems which, I suspect, are hardly ever used on vehicles that have this technology.

Hino said that freeway entry and exit ramps were the situations where roll over was a particular problem.  This appears to be the type of example about the need for traffic management professions to be communicating with vehicle manufacturers.

Originally aired on 25 February 2017. For past programs and individual segments visit www.drivenmedia.com.au