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360° cameras crucial for a bird's eye approach to trucking safety

26 Jul 2016

New Zealand's trucking industry could soon be made a whole lot safer if more companies adopt 'bird's eye' cameras that will help drivers see everything going on around their vehicles, a road safety campaigner says.

The cameras, also known as 360° cameras, are becoming common on newer truck models but older trucks are still a long way behind, says Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of car review website dogandlemon.

“Most trucks are still using mirrors to see what's going on round them. Therefore, huge parts of the roadway around the truck are invisible to the driver. This, inevitably, contributes to terrible accidents with cyclists and pedestrians," Matthew-Wilson says.

He goes on to explain that the technology exists right now that can eliminate these problems.

“Beeping sensors can also warn drivers when another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian is close to their vehicle. This is lifesaving technology, and it should be fitted to every commercial vehicle immediately," he explains.

While some operators may worry that the technology will cause a lack of attention in drivers, Matthew-Wilson says the technology means they will need to regularly scan and watch the space around their vehicles.

"At present drivers often simply assume there’s nothing in their blindspots, because they can’t see there,” he says.

Cameras cost around $2000-$4000 to install on large vehicles such as buses and trucks, and $500-$1500 for vans and cars. Matthew-Wilson says commercial vehicles have no excuses up their sleeves to leave safety in their blindspots.

“Mirrors on vehicles have been around since the nineteenth century. Mirrors generally show only a small portion of what's happening around the vehicle. It's time all vehicles were fitted with technology that shows the driver what’s actually going on," he concludes.