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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Acklea | It’s the details that matter when it comes to safety

Acklea has been supplying Traffic Management vehicles for almost 20 years, truly establishing itself as a trusted industry leader.

Safety has always been a factor of paramount importance across the sector, and Acklea places safety at the very top of its things to consider when developing and building vehicles.

2020 changed the safety world somewhat, with the unseen risk of Covid-19 providing an additional risk to operatives across the sector and the need to think about social distancing in vehicles. The changing landscape has driven innovation in safety, with all aspects of operations getting a thorough review.

Now, in 2021, Acklea showcases some of the features that mean all operatives are in safe hands when it comes to their vehicles.

Martyn Long, Transport and Claims Manager at Highway Traffic Management told us his own experience of working with Acklea and gave an insight into their approach to continuous improvements:

“Highway Traffic Management Ltd have worked very closely with Acklea since 2004. The last 16 years has seen a vast number of changes in both legislation and safety requirements.

“Acklea has always had its finger on the pulse in keeping up! That’s not to say that improvements in design are simply to tick boxes. Our experience is that grouped knowledge between us, Acklea and their client base invariably improves designs – always keeping Acklea well ahead of the game in terms of quality and safety.”

Martyn Long, Transport and Claims Manager at Highway Traffic Management

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

The new system is a 5 or 6 camera recordable system, with FORS and side scan giving greater awareness to cyclists, and the dangers of cyclists approaching the vehicle from what was formerly the driver’s blind spot. All new IPV’s are fitted with this latest DVR system, which are FORS compliant, and Acklea also fit to other vehicles if requested by a customer, giving an extra peace of mind.

Sliding Dropsides

Due to requests for a better solution to the standard detachable fold out dropside used to protect the operatives whilst in the footwell, Acklea challenged itself to develop a solution that gave added protection against loss and damage.

The result is a design that keeps the drop side attached to the side of the vehicle. The sliding drop side was transformed to become part of the vehicle and not a part that can be removed and therefore, neither lost nor damaged.

Now, the end user does not have the drop side folding out into live traffic or impeding them with the nearside barrier and can be operated from both inside, or outside the foot well.

Sliding Gate System

Acklea has been collaborating with its customers in the design of new features, and when approached to come up with a solution to overcome the problem of keeping the operative safe when on the bed of the vehicle, the company designed the trombone gate.

Jason Clement, Fleet Supply Chain Manager at Amey, said:

“The safety of our operatives and those on the network is of upmost importance. Looking at the vehicle bed, we identified an issue regarding operative safety and how this could be improved.

“Working in collaboration with Acklea on the trombone system, it was noted that this was the perfect solution to improve safety to all operatives working in the well, or on the vehicle bed. This system has now been incorporated into the standard specification across our fleet, providing extra protection for our operatives.”

Above the footwell and moving from a dual action system, Acklea has developed the single action system which allows the operative to leave part of the gate closed while in the footwell. This gives extra protection for the operative working on the bed as there will always be one gate closed.

Electrics and lighting

All lighting is R65 or above on all Acklea vehicles and additionally, the company provides a ‘plug and play’ system – where the customer can change the whole lamp/beacon etc without wiring, meaning only a screwdriver is needed for changing.

Acklea has installed extra lighting down either sides of the vehicle, and at the rear for reversing. This provides the vehicle driver and operatives additional help when working. The front beacon is also on a riser, so it is protected from the frames when loaded.


To keep valuable items secure, Acklea has installed rear lockers for items such as taper lamps safe from damage or theft as these are now lockable, where previously, these would have been left open.

Footwell area

There has been a long-standing issue around the footwell floor area. The problem being that when the operatives are working, they needed a non-slip covering to give them a sure footing – a challenge in some of the conditions they operate in.

This standard solution was a floor covering that would need replacing over time to keep it safe. However, what Acklea has done for a number of years now is to install a floor grid, which both gives an operative the platform to stand firm, and also enables any mud to fall through the grid, not allowing dirt to build up around the feet – and does not need replacing.

Additionally, a fold out step provides another feature allowing the operatives to access the vehicle bed and footwell easier, this has a speed sensor fitted in case it is left down – warning the driver if that is the case. It also can be used for laying and picking up cones as it gives a greater foot area.

3 points of access

For better visibility for operatives all builds have stickers/signage warning of 3 points of access, and all steps and handles are painted in a different colour.

In the case of a white vehicle these handles, and steps would be painted yellow for ease of visibility.

Rear rack

Acklea has designed the 610-arrow wedge, which stops the 610-arrow sign from rolling side to side damaging the hold bars.

Light arrow board

Acklea now uses the new Nissen LP8000 Zyklop board which is the latest technology from Nissen in Germany, providing better visibility from a single LED.

Covid-19 Social Distancing

As well as the standard improvements Acklea has made to its traffic management vehicles, as a rental company Acklea also provides its customers with the option to fit social distancing polycarbonate screens to the vehicle – allowing them the ability to transfer more than one person in a vehicle. This modification has proved popular in crew and welfare vehicles.

This, along with Acklea’s ‘Clean Car Pledge’ gives customers the comfort and knowledge that all vehicles delivered or collected have been rigorously cleaned and COVID protocols and guidance have been followed.

Andy Dougan, Acklea Product Manager commented:

“We’re very proud to receive the sort of client feedback that both Amey and HTM has provided, and we look forward to our long standing relationships continuing as we keep pushing to make improvements for the better, and for the safety of workforces across the country.”

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