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December 14, 2015

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Road safety camera system ‘a crucial safeguard’

Wastewater solutions provider Lanes Group says they have invested £200,000 installing one of the UK’s most advanced camera systems on its lorries.

According to the Group, the cameras have been fitted to 100 HGVs operated by the drainage and maintenance firm’s utilities division working on the wastewater network services maintenance contract for Thames Water.

They say the contract is the largest of its kind in the UK, taking in drainage assets that serve 25% of the UK’s population, including Greater London, and requires completion of more than 320,000 drainage maintenance jobs a year.

The company explains that video cameras are fitted to the front, rear and sides of each vehicle, which allows drivers to view all potential blind spots, and motion sensors along the nearside of each vehicle can detect cyclists or pedestrians, and alert the driver.

Lanes Group also says that an additional move sees hard drives installed in each vehicle to store footage for up to 30 days. This is used as evidence, they explain, in conjunction with GPS vehicle tracking technology, should there be an incident that needs to be investigated.

The investment is designed to ensure operations comply with new Thames Water road safety standards, says the firm, as well London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, which requires all HGVs to be fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

According to Lanes Group, the technology has seen recorded incidents involving HGVs fall. Also, in less than four months, video footage has helped Lanes Group challenge and disprove six fraudulent compensation claims made by other road users, they add.

Thames Water asked Lanes Group to demonstrate the system, developed by Brigade, to MPs in their service area, to show how the water company is taking seriously the need to do more to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Paul Jones, Lanes Utilities Transport Manager for the Thames Water contract, said: “We decided right from the start that we were not going to take a ‘minimum is okay’ approach.

“Our aim is to provide our drivers with all the support they need to make the right decisions to safeguard the wellbeing and lives of other road users, and pedestrians.”

Lanes Group says the sensor and camera system is particularly useful in heavy traffic at junctions, where cyclists can be tempted to come up the nearside of vehicles. They explain that the driver can view the video from all the cameras on a dashboard monitor and when the sensors detect the presence of a cyclist or pedestrian, the monitor switches full screen to footage from the relevant camera. The system cost over £2,000 per vehicle to install, with a significant part being the addition of the 500 gigabyte hard drive, adds the firm, which they say has helped hold Lanes Group and its drivers to account. It is also already proving to be a crucial safeguard, in providing incontrovertible video evidence when drivers have been wrongly accused of contributing to a road incident, they say.

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