Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Designed to Be Destroyed
You know that MoDOT takes its workers' safety seriously.
Did you realize that just as much attention is given to the safety of motorists who travel in work zones?
Why else would MoDOT buy a piece of equipment which is designed to be destroyed?
MoDOT uses truck-mounted attenuators because its vehicles tend to be struck from behind in work zones. Attenuators are like giant, crushable shock absorbers. Mounted to the end of the truck and transported and folded into active position in work zones, the equipment serves as a sacrificial item to protect lives and equipment.
Say a driver is not paying attention or is forced out of his or her lane and is set to collide with a dump truck or other vehicle in a 55 mph work zone. Instead of crashing into metal vehicle, the driver hits an attenuator which crumples, absorbing momentum and reducing the force of the impact. Damage to the driver and vehicles involved is lessened.
Sometimes, drivers walk away from these crashes. As they do so, MoDOT is able to call out for another attenuator and continue using the same dump truck.
Note: The day after this blog was posted, a commercial truck traveling on I-70 struck the TMA mounted on a MoDOT truck that was part of a crew painting stripes on the interstate. Both drivers escaped the crash with only minor injuries.