Freightliner has announced it will introduce a head-protecting side airbag on its Cascadia heavy duty truck in Australia later this year, which the company says will ‘further extend its safety leadership in the conventional truck class’.
As Freightliner says in its announcement, that the Cascadia is still the only bonneted truck in Australia fitted with a steering wheel mounted airbag. It will also become the only manufacturer to offer a head-protecting side airbag in a bonneted truck in Australia.
Daimler, ever the bastion of corporate courtesy doesn’t make mention of the other new bonneted truck in the market, but we will. The Cascadia’s current airbag situation and its proposed head protecting feature shames the Mack’s new Anthem, which as we have pointed out in the past, has no safety airbags fitted at all. This is despite its parent company Volvo’s ongoing safety posturing. It seems there is one standard for Volvo owners and one for Mack buyers.
Daimler appears to have pushed hard on the safety angle as it is across all its brands including Fuso, Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz.
Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific president and CEO, Daniel Whitehead, said Daimler is excited to further advance safety in the conventional truck class in Australia.
“There is no good reason why conventional truck drivers in Australia should not be able to drive a truck fitted with the latest safety features,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are driving a truck with or without a bonnet, your safety is just as important,” Daniel Whitehead added.
The company said in its statement that it ‘continues to lead on safety with Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso brands, with the latter recently becoming the first manufacturer to fit Advanced Emergency Braking System across its light, medium and heavy duty ranges in Australia’.
Daimler says that the Cascadia’s head-protecting side airbag has been specially developed for the Australian market with partner RollTek by IMMI to ensure it caters for local preferences. As a result the company says, it can be used with standard Cascadia ISRI seats.
In the United States, the RollTek airbag system is seat-mounted, while the seatbelts are mounted to the truck’s B-pillar.
Daimler points out that Australian drivers prefer the belts to be tethered to the seat instead of the B-pillar, allowing the belts to move up and down with the seat and the driver, which is incompatible with the US seat-based airbag deployment system. RollTek instead developed an Australian head-protecting airbag that is mounted on the truck’s B-pillar.
Freightliner Trucks Australia Pacific director, Stephen Downes, said the company is committed to raising the bar in the conventional truck class.
“A conventional truck with fully integrated advanced safety technology like Detroit Assurance 5.0 and not one but two airbags is exactly what many of our customers have been asking for in this class,” said Stephen Downes.
“When this life-saving technology is available for Cascadia, but none of its rivals, not even the most recent additions, the Cascadia is the only choice for customers who care about safety. Considering the Cascadia’s fantastic fuel economy and advanced comfort, the new safety addition only makes the business case stronger,” he added.
Daimler says that the Cascadia comes standard with the Detroit Assurance 5.0 safety package, which features AEBS and adaptive cruise control as well as Tailgate Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent High Beam, while Automatic Wipers and Headlamps are also standard.
Customers will be able to order the new head-protecting side airbag late this year.
The Cascadia range will be featured at the Brisbane Truck Show to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13 to 16 May.