A top-of-the-range DAF XF105 bristling with safety features has gone into service with Cockermouth operator John Weir Transport Limited on a high mileage round-the-clock operation.
The mid-lift axle XF105 features every safety device currently available for trucks and some that, though not yet a legal requirement, are likely to become mandatory in the future. These include:
• Adaptive Cruise Control, which maintains the correct distance from the vehicle in front using a special radar sensor. If the truck gets too close the system first reduces speed moderately by easing the throttle and then automatically applies the engine brake and finally the foundation brakes.
• Forward Collision Warning, which continuously calculates – on the basis of the distance to the preceding vehicle and the speed being driven – whether there is sufficient room to avoid an emergency situation or a collision. When a critical limit is exceeded, the system warns the driver through a visual and acoustic signal that they must intervene immediately.
• Axle Load Monitoring, calculates and displays the axle loads of the tractor and the semi-trailer as well as the payload of the combination.
• Lane Departure Warning uses a camera behind the windscreen to monitor the lane markings and alerts the driver to prevent inadvertent lane changes or road departure .
• Vehicle Stability Control significantly reduces the risk of understeer and oversteer to avoid jack-knifing or roll-over. As soon as a potential loss of control is detected, VSC cuts the engine throttle and brakes individual wheels to stabilise the driving conditions within the physical limits of the vehicle combination.
The 105 is being operated on contract to logistics company Gist supporting their distribution operation with Marks & Spencer. It’s running mainly with a high cube trailer carrying chilled products between manufacturing locations and Regional Distribution Centres.
The DAF’s regular run is between Carlisle, Croydon and Cumbernauld with a drop at Hemel Hempstead on the down leg. This requires double-shifting on one of the legs and as a result it will clock up around 250,000 kilometres a year during each of the three years that Weir Transport will keep the truck.
As well as all the safety features, the 105 is highly specced. At 510 horsepower from the the 12.9 litre MX engine there’s ample power to overcome the wind resistance inherent in pulling a high cube trailer. This is matched to an AS-tronic automated gearbox, which helps make the driver’s job considerably easier leaving him to focus on the road ahead without thinking about gear shifts and which should contribute to good fuel economy.
It has a Super Space cab offering luxurious conditions for the drivers both when at the wheel and during rest periods. As standard, this includes air conditioning, a top range radio/CD player, an air-suspended driver’s seat with three-point seat belt, and electrically operated windows and door locks.
Nigel Weir, who set up John Weir Transport Limited in 2000 and has built into a ten vehicle operation, says: “With the pressures on drivers these days it’s important to equip them with everything you can to make their job less stressful. That not only helps to make them safer drivers but it ensures that the truck is being driven to its optimum level of performance at all times.
“I’m very impressed with all of these safety features and with the overall performance of the truck. It looks great too, which is important for the image I want to present to my customers. I’m also confident that the truck will deliver good fuel figures based on my experience with other DAFs in the fleet.”
The XF105 was supplied by Carlisle dealer Solway DAF, who will carry out routine inspections and servicing overnight and at weekends to fit with the truck’s work schedule.