Honolulu Disposal Service Keeps Citizens Safe, Drivers Accident-Free With PRECO Electronic's PreView Radar Systems
The combination of frequent storms, tourists, hungry rodents, and corrosive ocean air poses a challenge for all truck fleets operating in Hawaii. But for Honolulu Disposal Service’s garbage disposal trucks, the challenges can be even greater. Its trucks typically operate in bad weather and early morning hours when visibility is poor. They navigate busy, narrow urban streets and alleys. And despite all of their warning signs and sounds, these hulking vehicles seem to go unnoticed as people make their way home, to work, and to the beach. Given these factors, the responsibility for safety lands squarely on the shoulders of Honolulu Disposal’s drivers. To help its drivers operate as safely as possible, Honolulu Disposal equips its trucks with cameras, and with PRECO Electronics’ PreView Radar systems. Ask Roy Eccleshall why Honolulu Disposal invests in PRECO’s collision mitigation systems, and he recites his simple mantra, “Safety, safety, safety.” As the company’s Executive Vice President of Maintenance and Facilities, Eccleshall says that keeping people safe comes down to minimizing the impact of human error, whether on the part of his drivers, other vehicle drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians. “Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive, about avoiding human mistakes,” Eccleshall says. “We decided about four years ago to give our drivers new tools to help them know what’s happening around their trucks. That’s when we started adding PRECO’s wired, and then wireless, radar systems to our fleet.”
Patented, Color-Coded Protection
PRECO’s PreView Radar systems use a patented radar technology to detect both moving and stationary objects around vehicles. The system uses visual and audible alerts to warn operators of potentially hazardous conditions. “We’ve used on-board cameras for years. But the problem is that cameras only tell the drivers that something is near the truck—not how near it is. The PRECO system gives my drivers a better understanding of exactly how close those things are.” When the PreView WorkSight® Wireless system senses an object within the detection area, it notifies the driver with an audible alert and a visual warning on an in-cab display unit. These short seconds of advance notice can mean the critical difference between accidents and close calls. “When the dashboard-mounted warning lights turn from green to yellow, drivers know to become very cautious,” Eccleshall says. “When the lights turn from yellow to red, the driver immediately stops the truck, gets out, and sees what’s going on.” He says his drivers have to exercise particular caution when driving and backing up their trucks through downtown Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach. Tourists busy strolling to the shops and beaches just don’t seem to pay attention to large vehicles and back-up alarms—even, he says, “when I changed the beeps to quacks.”
“Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive, about avoiding human mistakes” – Roy Eccleshall
“When the dashboard-mounted warning lights turn from green to yellow, drivers know to become very cautious,” Eccleshall says.
“PRECO reduced our typical per-truck installation time by more than 60 percent. When you multiply that across a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, that’s a lot of savings.”
“In the end, it’s not about the money. It’s about safety.”
Ruggedized and Wireless for Expected—and Unexpected—Challenges
Eccleshall says he likes the fact that the radar sensors are ruggedized to resist harsh environmental conditions including dirt, mud, rain, snow, and ice. Originally from Canada, he was all-too-familiar with these challenges. Moving to Hawaii, he soon found more. “I didn’t know rats could be so destructive,” he says. “A garbage truck could be full of all kinds of good food, but all the rats seem to want to eat are electrical cables. It doesn’t take long at all for them to chew through the cables and disable the collision warning system.” He was understandably thrilled when PRECO released its new PreView WorkSight Wireless radar system. Not only did the wireless solution prevent rodents from putting his trucks out of service, it also eliminated the need to install more than 75 feet of warning system cabling per truck, and dramatically reduced installation time. “PRECO reduced our typical per-truck installation time by more than 60 percent. When you multiply that across a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, that’s a lot of savings. Plus the wireless system eliminates the problem we’ve been having with salt corrosion. As tightly made as electrical cables are assembled these days, we still have problems when the salt works its way into the cable couplings, corrodes them, and shorts them out. WorkSight Wireless makes all of that go away.”
The Real Bottom Line
EVP Eccleshall has been in the waste industry long enough to know that accidents happen despite everyone’s best efforts. They happen in Hawaii, in Canada, in the United States, and all around the world. “People do funny things,” he says. “They walk behind vehicles. They pull in behind trucks that have pulled into dead-end alleys. They don’t hear the back-up alarms or see the signs to ‘stay back 50 feet’ or ‘watch for wide turns.’ So we look for ways to get ahead of the curve, like using technology to reduce the effects of human error. PRECO’s collision mitigation solutions—especially their wireless systems—have saved us money. But in the end, it’s not about the money. It’s about safety.”
Honolulu Disposal Service, Inc. is a private solid waste management company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Incorporated in 2003, Honolulu Disposal provides collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal of non-hazardous materials to Hawaiian governmental, commercial, and municipal sectors. With facilities on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai, Honolulu Disposal manages a fleet of more than 220 refuse trucks, front loaders, and other vehicles.