Embracing Quirky Ideas in Your Business

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Road Crew Managers: Five Safety Features You Need In A Truck Mounted Attenuator

Business Articles

Also known as crash cushions, truck mounted attenuators are units that you attach to trucks to reduce the impact of motor vehicle collisions to those trucks. In many cases, truck mounted attenuators are attached to large trucks which sit on the road between construction crews and traffic. Truck mounted attenuators notify drivers of the work zone while simultaneously protecting the area and the people in it.

If you are looking for truck mounted attenuators to keep your crew safe as they work in the road, look for ones that offer the following safety features:

1. Safe Weight

Currently you can buy truck mounted attenuators in a range of weights, determined by the manufacturers. However, based on research from government road authorities in New South Wales and Queensland, the host truck and its attached attenuator should be a combined total of 15 tonnes.

This weight makes the system so heavy that it is unlikely to move upon impact, regardless of the weight of the vehicle hitting it. Choosing a heavy-weight truck mounted attenuator promises safety to your host truck, your crew and your project.  

2. Bright Colours

Truck mounted attenuators are designed to withstand impact, but ideally, you do not want them to be hit at all. Bright yellow, red and even orange are the best colours for truck mounted attenuators. Black stripes along these colours also enhance their visibility as do reflective tape, warning lights and arrow boards.

Make sure that both the truck and the attenuator are brightly coloured. Additionally, ensure that any attached warning lights or signs meet all local regulations.

3. Attenuator Impact Braking

Look for systems with extra features such attenuator impact braking systems. Typically abbreviated as AIB, these systems apply the brakes to the vehicle hosting the attenuators if they are impacted from behind. This prevents a rear collision from turning into a multi-vehicle disaster, and it ensures that any workers in front of the vehicle are not run over.

Make sure that this system is set to not employ if the host truck is traveling at high speeds. That way if the host truck experiences an impact while driving to a site, it does not engage the brakes so harshly and quickly that it causes an even bigger accident on the road.

4. Adjustable Impact Attenuator Units

For safety and, in many areas, legal compliance, you need an impact attenuator unit that can be raised and lowered as needed. In some states, such as Western Australia, you are only allowed to have the attenuators lowered or deployed if the truck is at the work site or if it is in it own lane of the road. For all other purposes, the system needs to be raised or unengaged.

5. Strong Host Vehicle

If you are buying a truck mounted attenuator that includes both the truck and the attenuator unit, you do not have to worry about how strong the host vehicle is. In these cases, the manufacturer ensures that everything is strong and that the weight of the attenuator unit is distributed correctly.

However, if you are buying an attenuator unit that you are going to mount onto an existing host vehicle, you need to test the strength of the host vehicle's axles. The axles must be strong enough to support the weight of the attenuator unit, and as attenuators typically add weight to the back of the system, you need to ensure that the extra weight on the back does not destabilise the front axle of the truck. Speak with a truck mounted attenuator salesperson to ensure your host vehicle is up to the task.



26 January 2015