July saw the annual ‘Trucks and the blind spot’ campaign take place in Berlin-Gatow. The issue of pedestrian safety is often overlooked and younger pedestrians in particular tend not to appreciate the dangers of certain situations. To draw attention to the risks, Joachim Weiß, a retired air force officer with a degree in education, worked with primary schools in Berlin-Kladow/Berlin-Gatow to create the campaign ‘Trucks and the blind spot’ in 2005. Before the start of the summer holidays, the campaign, supported by the Berlin police and Mercedes-Benz CharterWay, showed 116 children how to stay safe around traffic.
CharterWay is supporting the campaign again this year with two Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks. With the aid of the trucks, the schoolchildren were able to experience various traffic situations from a different perspective, learning in the process how to size up the dangers – the basic rule being, “If I can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see me either”.
To help the children appreciate the size of the truck, the driver’s point of view and the viewing angle in the cab’s various mirrors, they were allowed to clamber into the driver’s seat and were surprised to discover that there are areas directly in front of, behind or to the side of the vehicle that are not visible from the driver’s seat in certain situations. For many of the children, the highlight of the day was being taken for a spin in the truck.
Maximum safety is a fundamental value of the Mercedes-Benz brand and an essential element of its DNA. A major proportion of the safety systems available in trucks today were premiered in a vehicle bearing the Mercedes star. The spectrum ranges from the ABS anti-lock braking system to the emergency braking assistance system Active Brake Assist. While safety systems to date have served first and foremost to help prevent serious accidents on motorways and highways, with the fourth-generation Active Brake Assist and with Sideguard Assist – both featuring pedestrian detection – Mercedes-Benz Trucks is opening up a whole new chapter: these systems afford protection above all to the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists – as Mercedes-Benz Trucks applies cutting-edge safety technology to urban traffic.
At Mercedes-Benz CharterWay safety is paramount: virtually all Actros models in the rental pool are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack. As of this year the majority of Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks also feature Active Brake Assist 4 and Sideguard Assist to provide even more protection for the driver and other road users.
Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA 4) warns the driver of imminent collisions with moving pedestrians and automatically initiates partial braking within system limits. With the aid of new-generation radar technology, pedestrians can be detected, for example when they cross the truck’s path or even if they step out from behind an obstacle or are moving along the carriageway. Pedestrians within range are also detected when the vehicle is turning. The automated alerts and partial braking initiated by pedestrian detection are active up to a speed of 50 km/h.
Mercedes-Benz is also the first truck manufacturer to introduce Sideguard Assist with pedestrian detection. It works in several stages. If there is a moving or stationary object in the side monitoring zone on the co-driver’s side, the driver initially receives a visual warning. An LED in the shape of a triangle lights up at the driver’s eye level in the A-pillar on the co-driver’s side. It intuitively attracts the driver’s attention to the situation alongside the vehicle and towards the outside mirrors on the co-driver’s side. If there is a risk of collision, an additional visual and audible warning is triggered: the LED flashes brightly several times in red. After two seconds, it remains permanently illuminated in red. At the same time, an alarm sounds on the side where the collision is imminent.
In fitting the new safety assistance systems, Mercedes-Benz is making a major contribution to safety on the road. These are systems that can help prevent accidents and save lives. They support the truck driver, particularly in complex urban environments, and can help ensure that pedestrians and cyclists are not overlooked when the truck is turning.
Despite advanced safety assistance systems, road traffic always entails a certain degree of risk, which makes it all the more imperative that even the smallest and most vulnerable road users are taught at an early stage to appreciate the dangers and learn how to behave appropriately.
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