Two Econic trucks as safety vehicles to protect highway maintenance workers in Cardiff.
In Cardiff and the greater area, the teams at the highways maintenance depot often have to work directly on busy sections of road. When setting up lane closures and carrying out repair work on high-speed roads, they therefore need a reliable solution to protect the teams and other road users. And what better answer to that problem than the two new Mercedes-Benz Econic 1830 L models which the City of Cardiff commissioned.
Special body with crash cushion.
The vehicles which are to be used for maintenance and repair work on motorways and arterial routes are based on the 18-tonne Econic chassis with its proven low-entry design. The unusual bodies were prepared by Acklea – a leading provider of safety vehicles – and were specifically adapted to the requirements of the City of Cardiff. Produced in Hampshire and Wiltshire, the bodies meet the highest of safety standards. They are made of galvanised steel and aluminium, thereby guaranteeing robustness and a long service life.
The Mercedes-Benz highway maintenance vehicles are equipped with LED arrows from Nissen and a so-called "crash cushion" from Traffix. This cushion comprises damping elements whose distinctive curved design is able to withstand speeds above 110 km/h. The force of rear and side impacts can thus be reduced by energy being dissipated uniformly across the entire length of the cushion. Workers in front of the truck thus benefit from the best possible protection against collisions.
Seeing is understanding.
But Cardiff's council wasn't just interested in protecting its employees, but also in increasing safety for all other road users. And the new Econic is a great solution in this respect, as it offers a number of truly useful ex-works safety benefits: among the standard equipment, for example, is the Active Brake Assist emergency braking system with pedestrian detection feature.
If there is a risk of a collision, it can warn the driver audibly and visually, plus it can even initiate automatic emergency braking. What's more, the Econic comes ex-works with the DirectVision cab – a low-slung panoramic windscreen which ensures the driver has an excellent overview of the traffic situation.
As the driver sits lower than in a conventional commercial vehicle, he or she has direct eye contact with cyclists and other road users, not only to the front but also to the side thanks to the fully glazed co-driver's side door. When different road users can see each other more clearly, it's much more simple to communicate with one another and thus both parties enjoy noticeably greater safety.
A further safety benefit of the Econic comes from the easy through-cab access, which makes getting into and out of the vehicle on the nearside possible. Particularly when working on high-speed roads or in hectic city traffic, this is a major safety plus for crews.