Cemex Talks on Mercedes Econic Low-Cab HGV

I spoke with Charlie Stanford, Area Logistics Manager at FORS Gold member Cemex, about the acquisition of a new Mercedes Econic…..

Congratulations on the recent purchase of a Mercedes Econic tipper truck; what prompted you to invest in a low-cab design?

As part of our approach to road safety and sharing the road space with Vulnerable Road Users we wanted to take the opportunity to purchase this innovative low cab design and put it to the test in our construction environment.

2. What has been the drivers reactions to the Econic?

Fantastic, all that have driven the vehicle have stated how good it is in terms of improved visibility.

3. Are there any potential disadvantages to using a low-cab tipper; might ground clearance be an issue?

None at all, we thought we might have cab clearance issues but it can do whatever a traditional tipper can, and more!!!

4. I understand that the oft-cited benefits of the low-cab design is its superior visibility, particularly with regards to spotting VRUs.  Are there other additional benefits? 

It’s not just about seeing the VRUs but actually getting  eye contact with them that makes the difference on this vehicle. Other benefits include low entry cab design for the driver, rear steer axle that makes delivery to small sites easy and the fantastic exhaust braking system and radar cruse control that can help reduce wear and tear.

5. There have been recent calls to ban HGVs during rush hour.  Do you have a view on this?  Would it solve the problem of VRU incidents?

Most of these incidents are outside these hours so no, what would help would be a relaxation on the LLCS (London Lorry Control Scheme) times. If the HGVs could get into the city before 7 we would avoid the main traffic flows by default.

6. Are there plans for Cemex to add more Econics to its fleets in the future? What do the next 5 - 10 years look like in terms of acquiring more low-cabs?

As we go through our natural fleet replacement we will consider adding further Econics or similar style vehicles. It would be great to see more OEM’s (original equipment manufacturers) coming to the table with a low cab design.  

7. I understand that Cemex has been at the forefront of trialling low-cab vehicles for construction; do you have any advice arisen from your trials to operators considering purchasing a low-cab design?

Yes, take one on trial first before purchase. It is imperative to get driver feedback so that this can be included in any potential purchase. For example we made a number of “in Cab” changes to best suit our needs and to accommodate the feedback from the drivers.

8. For those operators who are yet in a position to explore low-cab design, do you have any advice that operators can immediately action to make their traffic less dangerous to VRUs?

There are a number of approaches we would recommend to any operator in relation to Vulnerable Road Users. These include Education (driver training including safe urban on-bike training) Working with the Community e.g Exchanging places events with Met Police and cyclist groups to share with them the vehicle blind spots as well as sharing best practice with our haulage community), Collaboration (FORS, Clocs, Industry Groups), Vehicle Design (partnerships with Universities to take a scientific approach to vehicle design and the Fitment of Safety Features (sensors, cyclist warning signs, cameras etc) to existing fleet.

Cemex and Cycle Alert have teamed up for community safe cycling events

We’re thrilled to see another Mercedes Econic on the road: coupled with in-cab technology and greater education for all road users, these vehicles have the potential to make a huge impact on reducing work-related road risk, and are really driving the innovation of low-cab designs within the EU.

For more on Cemex’ trials: