A recent study about road safety in Spain shows that poor cargo securing is one of the most common causes for accidents involving heavy vehicles. The cargo securing part of the Spanish YETD national final was therefore of particular interest.
The Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE) and Scania have produced a report for the Iberian Peninsula with the aim of identifying and understanding the daily traffic interactions between two of the most representative groups of vehicle types: heavy goods vehicles and passenger cars.
Importance of cargo securing
Some 21 percent of the Spanish and Portuguese drivers interviewed reported having suffered accidents involving the indirect impact of objects because of the improper positioning or securing of cargo.
Cargo securing is one of several important disciplines in the Young European Truck Driver competition. Joaquín Álvarez, driver for transport company Marcotrans, excelled in this particular event. “I transport paper, electronics, domestic goods and parts for the automobile industry,” Álvarez says. “Securing cargo is part of my daily routine. Positioning the cargo over the axles and tightening the cargo to the flatbed is crucial. I work in Germany where the laws are very strict.”
Álvarez says his biggest challenge on the road are the passenger cars that cut in too closely in front of his truck when they change lanes, forcing him to brake hard.
Road safety first – then fuel consumption
Rubén Incera also performed very well in the cargo-securing event. In his daily work he transports eucalyptus trees to a destination and then different types of cargo in containers on the return journey.
“I transport tyres, boxes and all kind of things,” Incera says, “so I have some knowledge when it comes to securing different type of goods.”
Incera tries to anticipate other drivers in order to maintain road safety. He thinks less of fuel consumption, though. “When driving a 52-tonne rig, you can’t think of fuel-efficiency,” he explains.
Ecolution Award winner
Road safety was also the aim of the driving event, which focused on fuel efficiency and defensive driving. Each driver had to drive three laps on the racetrack, adhering to the posted speeds while maintaining a high average speed, minimising fuel consumption and accelerating and decelerating the vehicle in a controlled manner. In addition to a driver coach judging each driver’s performance, the driver also had to score well in the Scania Driver Support system.
Ricardo Rodríguez Rol, driver for transport company Transportes José Rodríguez, which transports cement internationally, was awarded the Ecolution Award for his excellent driving skills.
“I work for a small company, and we need to compete with large companies,” Rodríguez Rol says. “We must be careful with our trucks and actively think how to reduce fuel consumption and avoid incidents to maintain high uptime.”
Rodríguez once attended an eco-driver-training event, but, he recalls, “they couldn’t teach me anything. I scored better than the instructor.” This was the first time Rodríguez had driven a Scania truck equipped with two-pedal Opticruise (at work he drives another brand). “It was super easy to drive,” he says.
Driver and technology
Fermin Serrano is the owner of a company that transports vegetables from Spain to Norway and salmon and bacalhau (dried salted cod) from Norway to Portugal.
“We use a fully equipped Scania with all the features to help the driver avoid incidents and accidents,” Serrano says. The features include lane departure warning, emergency brake systems and active cruise control.
“In my opinion, the driver is 50 percent of the road safety and vehicle technology is 50 percent,” he says.
Serrano has driven other brands and says that the one thing he especially likes about driving a Scania is the service network. “Wherever I go,” he says, “I know there is a service point that can help me maintain productivity.”