Industry

Automatic vehicle security checks for cross channel HGVs

East Sussex haulage firm Dobbs Logistics, is trialing a new security system aimed at countering the threats of unlawful access and transportation of illegal immigrants.

The system, called Driver Buddy, combines on-board motion-sensitive camera, CO2 monitors and an app that allows the vehicle to be monitored remotely or from the driver’s cab.

The app enables drivers to provide real-time photographic records of their statutory security checks, which are also simultaneously logged onto a secure server. Using GPS tagging, the app records location, time, date and the driver’s identification. This can then be later produced to border security personnel when required.

Steve Morgan, managing director of Dobbs Logisitics, said the feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “It’s bombproof photographic and real-time evidence that the checks have been carried out. We can see what checks have been done, at what time and the exact spot they were carried out.

“It’s no comparison to manual forms that drivers fill out at present – they are not worth the paper they are written on.”

During the most pronounced disruptions to cross-Channel freight this summer, some drivers faced prosecution in the UK as a result of bringing illegal immigrants into the UK. Fines of up to £2,000 per transported person faced even those drivers who claimed they had unwittingly carried people into the UK and who were adamant they had complied with statutory vehicle checks.

Some industry bodies, such as the Road Haulage Association, criticised the current framework of vehicle checks, which can leave individual drivers at risk of confrontation or altercation while outside their vehicle carrying out necessary inspections.

Driver Buddy allows drivers to view all cameras on board and underneath the truck, they can also be silently alerted to increases C02 levels. It was developed by Barry Southon, a security expert who has worked with the US Military and the UK Home Office.

“What drivers and haulage companies will have is peace of mind that they won’t face legal recrimination if a migrant is found. They will have evidence that they have carried out the relevant statutory checks at the start of their journey and have onboard monitoring in place to provide an added level of security,” he said.

There are two core elements to the System: Driver Buddy 4 and Driver Buddy 4+.

Driver Buddy 4 is a series of four infrared cameras located around the vehicle that have real-time recorded motion activated capabilities. These detect any clandestine entry into a vehicle and store the data digitally via a restricted access SD card.

The driver in the cab will be able to view all cameras via a dashboard monitor. If a migrant is discovered he can alert border authorities that will then take over the handling of the situation.

Driver Buddy 4+ in addition to the four infrared cameras, there are C02 detectors that can be placed inside the lorry trailer. If there are clandestine passengers aboard the monitors will detect the increased C02 levels. The driver will be alerted via the dashboard monitor and can then report this to borders staff.