Quixote SST Safe-Stop truck-mounted attenuator has proved its worth in two near-disaster work-zone incidents. In one case, the driver of a semi tractor-trailer was traveling on a northern Illinois interstate at 65 mph, approaching a work crew doing road repairs on the shoulder ahead.
In another, a Volkswagen Jetta was maneuvering its way through traffic on a Dayton, Ohio, expressway early on a Saturday morning when it encountered a city of Dayton street maintenance sweeping operation.
The drivers in both cases made errors in judgment that could have had equally as disastrous effects had it not been for an Energy Absorption Systems Inc.’s (a Quixote Transportation Safety company) Model SST Safe-Stop truck-mounted attenuator mounted on shadow vehicles protecting the work-zone activities ahead of them.
I-75 runs between Detroit and Miami, including a section that goes directly through Dayton, where traffic volume is heavy virtually all day, every day. Late this past August, two city of Dayton trucks involved in an early-morning sweeping operation were moving northbound on the interstate in the right-hand lane at about 5 mph when the driver of the 1998 Jetta maneuvered through traffic on a slight curve and rear-ended the first of two vehicles involved in a sweeping operation at 50 mph.
“As is typically the case, it seems, when incidents occur, we were about 20 minutes from being finished with a sweeping operation that had been under way all night when we got hit,” explained James Brinegar, division manager, City of Dayton Street Maintenance. “Police reports indicate that the driver was not impaired and weather was not an issue as it was sunny with dry pavement. It appeared to be another example of a driver simply not paying attention to warning signs and message boards that we use to inform drivers that they are approaching a slow-moving operation, and to use caution as they approach.”
The rear vehicle trailing the sweeper was signaling via arrow board for traffic to change lanes. When the Jetta did not, an impact occurred with the shadow vehicle that was outfitted with a SST Safe-Stop truck-mounted attenuator.
“Fortunately, neither the driver of the car that hit us nor our driver was injured. Our driver indicated at first that he didn’t even realize that he was hit,” Brinegar added. “The SST TMA performed as it was designed and averted what could have been a catastrophe.”
The city of Dayton had just recently put the TMA unit into operation, having indicated that it had been using truck-mounted attenuators for the last several years. It determined that it needed to upgrade to meet NCHRP 350 TL-3 standards and wanted a unit that could be switched from vehicle to vehicle, interchangeable rather than permanent.
“I was pleased with the TMA on this first impact that we experienced with it,” Brinegar concluded. “It collapsed and absorbed energy as designed and was able to be repaired and put back into service quickly. Most importantly, we use these things to protect our workers and worksite, and it did just that.”