“I never want to be the one who has to tell the family of one of my drivers that he’s been involved in a serious accident,” states Seagrave at his Southampton HQ.
“ABA 3, along with other Mercedes-Benz technology – such as Proximity Control Assist, Attention Assist and Lane Keeping Assist systems – means peace of mind for safety-conscious operators like myself, who are aware of our duty of care to employees and other road users.”
Hence, Seagrave’s latest additions are two Mercedes-Benz Actros 2545LS tractor units with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and the 450bhp engines – and equipped with ABA 3.
Seagrave explains that his company took part in a two-week Mercedes-Benz fuel challenge last summer, organised by dealer Pentagon Commercials.
The Actros demonstrator won, returning 9.2 mpg, 14.5% ahead of the figure achieved on similar work by the operator’s own vehicle.
Seagrave then attended an event for local operators, with presentations from the manufacturer’s driver-training team and its FleetBoard telematics division, plus the 35-mile ‘ride and drive’.
Seagrave says it had been 15 years since he last drove an artic, but “I quickly settled in and was really impressed by the effectiveness of features like the Predictive Powertrain Control system,” which made life easier than in his day.
“Proximity Control Assist technology ... was very effective in gently slowing the truck to prevent you from getting too close to the vehicle in front,” recalls Seagrave.
Speaking of his new Mercedes-Bez tractors, Seagrave says: “The drivers are delighted with the comfort of their new vehicles and have benefited from instruction by Pentagon’s driver-trainer Phil Whiting.
“It’s clearly paying off because, although the Actros are still bedding in, they’re already proving exceptionally fuel-efficient... One of the lads returned 11.5 mpg the other day, which is brilliant.”
AFS’s two Actros are being inspected and serviced under six-year Mercedes-Benz R&M contracts at Pentagon’s Fareham workshop.
Autonomous braking technology has been fitted as standard to all Mercedes-Benz trucks since 2006, but ABA 3 goes beyond the requirements of current legislation.
Using radar and cameras, the system monitors moving and stationary objects in front and sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision.
If the driver takes no action, ABA 3 applies staged- and eventually full-braking power to prevent or mitigate the effects of a crash.