Massey Wilcox Transport is fitting a new fifth wheel with safety sensor which provides a fail-safe for drivers when coupling tractor units to semi-trailers.
With the fleet’s tractor units constantly interchanging with a variety of dry freight trailers, Massey Wilcox needed a fifth wheel which could help eliminate potential safety issues caused by miscoupling.
Managing Director Robert Wilcox said, “We turned to Fontaine Europe, who’s LED Sensor system can’t fail in this respect because the mechanism relies on a combination of jaw sensor, handle sensor and a good old safety clip to get a ‘green light’ and confirm that the tractor is fully coupled.
“We have conscientious experienced drivers but even so, mistakes can be made – particularly when things are busy and the light is poor. With the Fontaine system, we have not seen any miscouplings and it is definitely an advantage from a health and safety and equipment protection point of view.”
After engaging, the driver needs to check that the fifth wheel safety clip is attached, in which case a green LED light will show, both on the fifth wheel and in the cab. If, for some reason, the driver has not confirmed that the safety clip is attached, a red light will show in the cab, alongside a flashing green light and an alarm will sound for 30 seconds. As an additional safety procedure, the external LED light can be checked by security before the vehicle departs.
“The beauty of this system is its simplicity” says Wilcox. “It also carries out a self-check when switched on and if there is no trailer present, the in-cab display just remains blank. There is no substitute for driver efficiency and all-round best practice, both of which we hold in high regard. However, a system like this provides a fail-safe back-up for the driver, to ensure safe coupling every time. It certainly looks like the way forward.”