Fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds has commissioned two of the first temperature-controlled ‘urban prototype' trucks to improve safety standards.
Reynolds is already bronze accredited by the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), and the company's decision to commission the trucks reflects its determination to "go for gold".
The new Mercedes-Benz Econic trucks are the subject of contract hire agreements with Gulliver's Truck Hire, via chosen supplier Dealer Group Rygor. They are now making multi-drop deliveries to customers throughout London.
The high-visibility Econic has a deep, panoramic windscreen and a full-length, folding side door, allowing the driver, who sits much lower than in a conventional distribution vehicle, to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions or in traffic queues.
The 18-tonners are fitted with Sentinel camera systems that give the driver a 360-degree view and sound an audible warning when a cyclist is alongside, as well as strobe lighting for use when crews are unloading at night.
The Econic's low-entry cab also has just two steps rather than the traditional four, which also reduces the risk of access and injuries for the operator's driver and ‘van assistant', while easy through-cab access allows both to enter and exit safely on the non-traffic side.
As the trucks leave Reynolds' national Distribution Centre between 2.30 and 3am, the trucks also have full air suspension and sound-deadening Marothaan floor coatings to reduce noise, due to their early operating hours.
The operator has also specified its Econics with SmartDrive vehicle data and video event recording technology, which reviews safety performance and provides recommendations and tools that fleet managers can use to achieve improvements through targeted training and development.
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), praised Reynolds for being "at the vanguard of forward-thinking companies" by using safer lorries with higher levels of driver direct vision.
Reynolds' head of fleet support Steve White said: "Having also worked in the waste industry I was already very familiar with the Econic, and particularly the attributes of its low-entry, high-visibility cab. Given the focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety in London I've come to realise that it could be ideally suited to our operation too. Our ‘Urban Prototypes' serve to reinforce our commitment to compliance and road safety, while also demonstrating innovation in our field of expertise."
Truck sales executive at Rygor Marcus Cahalin added: "Rygor is proud to have worked closely with Steve and Gulliver's on the development of these ground-breaking vehicles, which position Reynolds as a leader in the temperature-controlled distribution segment. We look forward to building on our new partnership with this high-profile operator."