Mercedes-Benz Trucks has said it may start offering the Jimmy Beam Down Light (JBDL) safety system as an option on new lorries if a trial of it delivers “calculable benefits and advantages and our customers can see these”.

The amber LED lights, each 1W, illuminate the ground immediately next to a truck or trailer, helping drivers pinpoint the position of rear wheels on the road in their mirrors at night, for example. Inventor Jim Thomson said they also improve safety between trucks and vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians, particularly in poor visibility.

Mercedes has already had the JBDL system fitted to an Econic 8x4 Triple (tridem) rear-steer tipper demonstrator (pictured), a spokesman from the truck manufacturer confirmed, and is now considering fitting it to other Econic demonstrators including skiploader, cement mixer and refuse collection variants.

“All of these vehicles work in urban/city centre environments where there is a large population and a high number of third parties, pedestrians and cyclists using the roads,” the spokesman added.

The latest JBDL system has been enhanced with a new ‘slow-speed’ feature that turns the lights on when the truck is stationary or travelling at 15kph or less; and with another function that makes the downlights’ footprint flash in conjunction with the vehicle’s indicator lights. The system can also be set to come on automatically when the driver activitatse the regular vehicle sidelights.

In May this year, the Vehicle Certification Agency gave the go-ahead for the lights to be fitted before type approval or registration by vehicle manufacturers and bodybuilders.

By Robin Meczes