Maple Win Motor Transport Innovation Award

We are thrilled to announce that Maple Fleet Services have won the 2013 Motor Transport Innovation Award with safe coupling device, SafeConnect. Designed to reduce the risks of rollaway and crushing incidents posed to operators when coupling tractor and trailer units, SafeConnect received high praise from the judges for being a simple, practical solution whilst remaining cost effective.

Held at the prestigious Grosvenor Hotel, London, the 28th annual edition of the Motor Transport Awards celebrated the very best achievements from within the commercial logistics sector, attracting over 1,600 of the most respected industry figures. Often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the logistics sector, the event continuously sets the benchmark for quality and service covering all aspects of the industry.

It is no secret that a large proportion of rollaway and crushing incidents are caused by the inadvertent release of the vehicle brakes. By the very nature of the coupling process the driver is outside of his cab and helpless to reverse the situation. This year alone there have been a number of accidents in which high profile companies have been fined and / or prosecuted after a driver was seriously injured or even killed as a result of a rollaway situation.

Designed and developed in conjunction with local firm Robert Walker (Haulage) Ltd, SafeConnect’s uniqueness lies in its ability to place the driver inside the cab before releasing the vehicles brakes. Produced to put an end to preventable and seemingly regular incidents, SafeConnect is a pneumatic valve positioned close to the King Pin underneath a trailer, which blocks air flow between the tractor and trailer during coupling.

Only once the driver has returned to the safety of their cab and depressed the foot brake will the brakes be released. The system requires no electrical input and is completely mechanical in operation, creating a much simpler, more reliable safety system.

“It is my belief that SafeConnect is a must have for trailer operators. It’s easy to use, failsafe in its operation and ultimately it will save lives. There are many dangers drivers face on a daily basis, some, like the behaviours of other road users cannot be controlled or eradicated, others, like coupling accidents, which we are still reading about today can be avoided.

SafeConnect is a realistic, affordable solution. I’m delighted that it has been recognised as such by some of the industry’s leading authorities who formed the judging panel,” commented Alan Maple, Technical Director, Maple Fleet Services.

After a series of successful trials on the Robert Walker (Haulage) Ltd fleet, Maple Fleet Services are launching the trailer safety device to the UK market. The haulier has fitted the system to a selection of vehicles and has been delighted with the results.

“SafeConnect offers us the reassurance that in the event of inadvertent release of trailers brakes our drivers are still safe, I’d implore anyone to fit SafeConnect,” commented Neil Walker, Director for Robert Walker Haulage.

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