The new weight monitoring system for moving commercial and industrial vehicles
Safety has always been a priority for Autostrade per l'Italia and is a constant commitment to its customers, who travel through the highway network on a daily basis.
Key results have been achieved in the last ten years, which have contributed to the steady reduction in the number of highway accidents and to the 70% decrease in the number of deaths, thus saving thousands of lives.
All of this was achieved thanks to structural measures aimed at making the infrastructure safer, while at the same time having an impact on bad driving behaviour.
Following the excellent safety results achieved thanks to the Safety Tutor system, which monitors average vehicle speed and which had a positive influence on customer driving behaviour over time, Autostrade per l'Italia and the Italian Polizia Stradale (Highway Police) jointly developed an innovative project that focuses on the mass of moving vehicles, something that is often ignored, but that is at the basis of serious accidents, even at low speeds.
A heavy vehicle's excess mass in fact places the vehicle's entire, complex safety system in serious difficulty: the braking system loses efficacy, braking distances are increased and the vehicle becomes unstable, making emergency manoeuvres difficult, thus also compromising the transported load. The likelihood of impact or serious accident due to the increased kinetic energy arising from the vehicle's excess mass is thus increased.
The innovative Overload Tutor system for the dynamic weighing of heavy vehicles project was thus developed by Autostrade per l'Italia, in collaboration with the Italian Polizia Stradale (Highway Police), to reduce the number of accidents arising from overloaded lorries.
Infringements for weight in excess of the limits envisaged by the new Italian highway code are at present only punishable if the vehicle is weighed on a type-approved static station when stationary.
The novel aspect of the Overload Tutor project thus lies in that a static weighing station is combined with a dynamic weighing station that is capable of measuring the weight-in-motion of vehicles. The Overload Tutor is placed along the highway approximately 10 km before the parking area where the static weight check takes place.
How it works
The OVERLOAD TUTOR system comprises 4 sensors per lane, which are installed in the road surface and are capable of identifying the following, for each for each vehicle, with extreme precision:
- vehicle class;
- number of axles;
and cameras placed on a portal capable of capturing high-resolution digital images so as to allow the Italian Polizia Stradale (Highway Police) to identify and stop the overloaded vehicles with absolute certainty.
The dynamic weighing system is connected via the UMTS network with a laptop supplied by the Italian Polizia Stradale (Highway Police) on which images of the overweight vehicles detected are displayed, with the date and time of transit and estimated time of arrival.
This new system thus provides Italian Polizia Stradale (Highway Police) patrols with a high-precision tool that targets their work so that it is no longer based on sample checks.
For this very reason the project has gained the support of the Central Committee of the Italian Register of Road Haulier's and of the
Adoc, Adiconsum, Adusbef, Codacons and FederConsumatori consumer associations, which has always had an interest in promoting road safety initiatives.
Five Overload Tutor stations are already in place on the Autostrade per l'Italia stretches with the most heavy vehicles. The system is due to be extended to other parts of the network.