Safety Information Exchange (SIE) is the electronic exchanging of safety data and related credentials between operators and law enforcement. (See Credential Checking and e-Manifest)This information can be used for road safety enforcement and fleet logistics planning by providing a database of information on the vehicles using a given route or road corridor and carrying hazardous freight. (See On-board Monitoring and Telematics)
This database is particularly useful for road safety enforcement since it enables a focus on higher-risk vehicles or operators. Vehicles of operators without suitable credentials or up-to-date safety information can be located for example by ANPR cameras to trigger their interception.
In the event of an incident involving the transport of hazardous materials, the safety of the driver and any emergency responders - and the containment of any substances escaped from the vehicle - is of primary importance. It is often mandatory for vehicles to carry certain safety items depending on the type of substance being transported. These can include fire extinguishers, drain covers and respirators. Vehicles must also carry a document detailing the substance, its effect on the environment and how to deal with a spill or leak. This is known as a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and its purpose is to inform emergency responders on how to deal with an incident. MSDS’s are used throughout the European Union and North America. Drivers should be trained in handling the substance that they are carrying and what to do in the event of an emergency. The availability of these documents online can enable easy access by the emergency services at short notice if required.
In many countries there is a requirement on operators who are moving vehicles and/or loads that exceed standard dimensions (abnormal loads) to pre-notify police, highway and bridge authorities. The process varies between countries but may involve millions of notifications to be sent every year, often by fax. This time consuming process is increasingly being replaced by electronic systems that simplify notification of abnormal load movements. For example in the UK, ESDAL (Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads) is run by the Highways Agency. ESDAL’s innovative mapping system, allows hauliers to plot their planned route, obtain full details of all the organisations they need to notify and provide notifications that are fully compliant. ESDAL allows hauliers to make an appraisal of the route to assess its suitability for their vehicle. Police, road and bridge authorities can use ESDAL to manage incoming notifications from operators and make their own assessment of a routes suitability. Additional functionality in ESDAL allows infrastructure owners to input data on limiting features (such as road widths, bridge heights and permitted lorry weights) and enables the police and highway authorities to add other con¬straints such as temporary road works. Interestingly ESDAL does not require any specialist software; it only requires a PC with inter-net access. More information (and the gateway to the system) can be found at http://www.highways.gov.uk/specialist-information/abnormal-loads/