UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

Work Truck Week Keeps Growing

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Over the years, Work Truck Week has grown bigger and more robust, providing those in the vocational truck industry with more and more opportunities to discover new products, attend industry-focused educational courses and gain access to professionals who can help them answer pressing questions.

2019 is proving to be no exception. This year’s Work Truck Week – which takes place March 5-8 in Indianapolis – will include The Work Truck Show, Green Truck Summit, Fleet Technical Congress and the very first Manufacturer and Distributor Innovation Conference.

In total, more than 100 companies have already announced plans to introduce new work trucks and equipment at Work Truck Week, and at least 15 OEMs will deliver chassis updates. During these update sessions, company representatives will provide insights into future plans, share technical information, and review body and equipment installation options.

Ninety exhibitors are showcasing new products online prior to the event as part of The Work Truck Show’s New Product Spotlight and Green Product Showcase programs. Offerings range from transmissions and suspensions to trucks and bodies. To learn more, visit the featured exhibitor section at www.worktruckshow.com/floorplan.

Fleet Technical Congress – designed for both established fleet managers and those moving into more senior fleet management roles – will help fleet professionals learn how to leverage new technologies and processes to find sustainable, creative solutions to enhance fleet operations. General education session topics include restoration and disaster recovery planning, work truck design and securing fuel during supply disruptions.

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Fiona Soltes

Making the 5G Connection

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In late 2018, AT&T announced a standards-based, mobile 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities, with seven more areas to follow. The company also said it was on the verge of bringing 5G Evolution technologies to 400 markets, enabling faster speeds, wider coverage and lower latency, which improves streaming capabilities. Verizon, meanwhile, has been making strides of its own, announcing Verizon 5G Home – billed as “the world’s first commercial 5G broadband internet service” – last fall.

Some have eagerly awaited these advances and their impact on connectivity, communication and possibility. Others? They may be impressed that what’s long been talked about appears to finally have arrived.

Lou Vella, telematics product development manager for fleet management company ARI (www.arifleet.com), said it’s still difficult to say how 5G will impact operations for utility fleets. But possibilities are beginning to emerge – and not just in terms of autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles.

“As the technology continues to evolve, companies are finding new, innovative ways to leverage increased network speeds,” Vella said. “These higher speeds make it viable and affordable to implement technology, such as in-cab video, as a means to supplement traditional telematics data and provide further insights into driver performance. As 5G networks become more widely available, I believe the immediacy of data, combined with the amount of data available, will fuel further innovations that will be leveraged to improve performance of both the vehicles and their drivers.”

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Grace Suizo

What to Consider When Spec’ing Onboard Scales

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Operating an overloaded truck is categorized as a misdemeanor in most U.S. states. Aside from putting the safety of the operator and the public at risk, overloading also can increase fines and lead to premature vehicle wear and tear.

Fortunately, the availability of today’s onboard scale technology can help utility fleet managers ensure trucks operate at a safe weight.

So, what exactly should fleet managers consider when spec’ing onboard scales? Utility Fleet Professional connected with industry professionals who shared insight into selecting the right applications for your fleet.

Benefits of Technology
Nebraska Public Power District has been using onboard scale systems for more than 10 years and currently has approximately 20 scale systems in use between tractor-trailer units and dump trucks.

NPPD’s primary reason for installing the scale systems was to verify loaded axle weights to ensure they were compliant with DOT bridge laws.

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Sandy Smith

Where are EVs Headed in 2019?

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Even if you closely follow the news, it’s difficult to pin down which direction electric vehicles (EVs) will be heading over the coming year. Production of certain hybrid models is ending, while other OEMs have promised to roll out more all-electric vehicles. Some car enthusiasts have proclaimed 2019 as the “year of the electric.”

Scott Shepard, senior research analyst/energy for market research and advisory company Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com), believes there’s plenty worth watching in the coming year – but not necessarily for fleets. “It looks like most of the conversation is going to be around long-range SUVs coming onto the market,” he said.

Jaguar, Audi, BMW, Hyundai and Kia are among the automakers with a U.S. presence that will be introducing new electric SUVs in 2019. A number of Chinese startup manufacturers also are expecting a big year ahead. “That’s all a big deal,” Shepard said. “These are the first vehicles that are competitive with a Tesla, with similar range characteristics as well as purchase price characteristics.”

For his part, Ted Davis, vice president, North American supply chain for fleet management company ARI (www.arifleet.com), pointed to California OEM Chanje Energy, which is “already taking orders for its Euro-style electric van.” Others, like ROUSH CleanTech, with its all-electric Ford F-650, and Mitsubishi Fuso, with its eCanter, should be taking orders later this year, pending road tests. Shepard pointed to Rivian, the talk of the Los Angeles Auto Show, for its sport pickup truck. “As the first models hit the road, we’ll begin to see how these units perform in real-world scenarios, and hopefully this insight will encourage more fleets to embrace this ever-evolving trend,” Davis said.

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Sean M. Lyden

To Lease or Not to Lease

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The conventional wisdom for most utility companies is to purchase their fleet assets outright.

And there are some advantages to that approach: potentially lower vehicle acquisition costs, no debt added to the balance sheet, and greater control over resale timing and pricing.

But as utilities see their profit margins getting squeezed, their fleet departments are becoming bigger targets for budget cuts.

So, when you’re under mounting pressure to do more with the same money as last year – or even less – how do you manage? How can you work within tighter financial constraints without sacrificing your fleet’s performance and reliability?

One option is leasing at least a portion of your fleet. But how do you decide which assets to lease? When does leasing make financial sense? And when doesn’t it?

UFP recently spoke with Charlie Guthro, vice president of global strategic services at ARI (www.arifleet.com), a fleet management company that works with several utility companies in North America, to get his perspective. Here is an edited version of our conversation.

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Jim Galligan

ADAS May Be a Mixed Bag in Your Shop

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More vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are showing up in utility fleet maintenance shops as vehicle manufacturers accelerate the introduction of these safety technologies into new models.

While there is little doubt that ADAS features – such as adaptive cruise control, radar-based collision avoidance systems and other technologies – can lower fleet costs by improving safety and reducing collisions, the issue for fleets is what effect these components will have on maintenance. Will these technologies increase maintenance costs by requiring more training or new equipment?

The early answer from fleet and industry consultants is that it is too soon to know definitively. Much depends on which components and features the fleet adds. In some cases, the technologies build on well-known foundation systems, so the need for training or additional equipment may be minimal, one supplier said. Some technologies, like radar, self adjust.

“Right now, it’s truly unknown what the expectations are,” said Darry Stuart, principal with DWS Fleet Management (www.darrystuart.com), a maintenance consulting firm. “It’s going to be challenging in the early days until it’s figured out.”

San Diego Gas & Electric added 10 small SUVs with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and emergency (crash avoidance) braking systems in early 2018. It’s still early, but so far results in the shop have been good, said Clint Marsh, fleet asset manager. “Maintenance for the radar-based systems is minimal and has not affected maintenance/parts costs for vehicles with this technology.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Your Job Title Says ‘Fleet,’ But You’re Actually in Sales

Whatever position we’re in, we’re all selling something – an idea, a point of view or a proposal – whether we want to call it “sales” or not. That goes for fleet professionals as well.

In his book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” best-selling author Daniel H. Pink put it like this: “Physicians sell patients on a remedy. Lawyers sell juries on a verdict. Teachers sell students on the value of paying attention in class. … Whatever our profession, we deliver presentations to fellow employees and make pitches to new clients. We try to convince the boss to loosen up a few dollars from the budget or the human resources department to add more vacation days.”

But far too many fleet managers believe a myth that’s putting their careers at risk: “My work should speak for itself.” The truth is that, even in fleet, perception is reality. And if you don’t intentionally shape the perception of senior leadership to match the reality of your work, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Think about it: Your fleet could be one of the top performers in the utility industry. But what if leadership doesn’t know what top performance should look like? All they see is that fleet costs keep going up. So, from their perspective, you must be bad at your job, right?

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Kate Wade

Peterbilt All-Electric Medium-Duty Model

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Peterbilt Motors Co.’s all-electric medium-duty Model 220EV joins the previously announced Model 520EV and the Model 579EV in the Peterbilt electric vehicle lineup. In all, Peterbilt will have more than 30 electric vehicles in operation by the end of 2019, with customers representing the refuse, regional haul and city delivery applications.

The zero-emission 220EV is powered by two TransPower battery packs with a total of 148 kWh and a Meritor Blue Horizon two-speed-drive eAxle. It features a range of 100 miles and a recharge time of one hour when using a DC fast-charging system.

Peterbilt will begin delivering the 220EV in the summer of 2019 and will put a total of six into service this year with a major customer. www.peterbilt.com

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Kate Wade

ATSSA’s 49th Annual Convention Puts a Spotlight on Roadway Safety

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For the 49th year, the American Traffic Safety Services Association will produce the ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo.

The 2019 event – which takes place February 8-12 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida – is being billed as the premier roadway safety event in the U.S. It is expected to draw an estimated 3,500 roadway safety professionals and transportation officials from around the globe, who will have the chance to walk more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring the industry’s latest products and services. A wide variety of traffic safety solutions, roadway safety vehicles and heavy equipment, ranging from striping trucks to truck-mounted attenuators, will be on display. ATSSA’s New Products Rollout – which attendees can check out on the exhibit floor – also is back, this time with some changes from years past.

Beyond products and services, the convention is set to offer a variety of educational options, including hour-long concurrent sessions on February 11 and 12, for which attendees can receive continuing education units; Traffic Talks delivered by roadway safety experts and ATSSA staff on the exhibit floor; and ATSSA training courses available before the convention and expo begins. Visit http://expo.atssa.com/education.html to review the full education schedule.

Another highlight of the annual ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo is attendees’ opportunity to meet and network with industry leaders, business professionals and peers. Among the special events planned for the 2019 event are the Chairman’s Reception, the Opening General Session and Breakfast, the New Member and First-Time Attendee Welcome, and the Circle of Innovation, Solutions Edition. The Opening General Session will feature several industry guest speakers, including John Corbin of the Federal Highway Administration and Amy Ford of the Colorado Department of Transportation. The Solutions Edition of the Circle of Innovation is new for 2019; according to ATSSA, the event will focus on solutions that state departments of transportation have implemented to improve safety.

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Kate Wade

Goodyear Storm Priority Program

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As utility crews and their trucks spring into action during and after hurricanes and other severe weather incidents, the risk of tire damage due to storm-related debris increases exponentially. During these times, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Storm Priority program helps get utility trucks up and running quickly so utility crews can continue their power restoration efforts.

Goodyear Storm Priority is offered through the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program, which helps trucks that have been immobilized by tire issues return to service.

To access Goodyear Storm Priority during and after severe weather incidents, utility truck drivers call a dedicated line: 1-855-STORMHQ. Calls that come in through the line are given high priority and immediately routed to the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Solution Center, where trained agents capture vital information, including the location of the caller’s vehicle. Goodyear agents will then locate and dispatch a service technician from the nearest Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Center or independent, authorized Goodyear commercial tire dealer to the truck. The technician will evaluate the vehicle’s tire situation and help return it to service quickly and efficiently.

Goodyear Storm Priority is available to utility fleets of all sizes, configurations and vocations. www.goodyeartrucktires.com

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Kate Wade

TravelCenters of America Dominates Driver Satisfaction Survey

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TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters) – operator of TA, TA Express and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands – recently announced the results of the 12th annual “Voted Best” survey. The survey was commissioned by TravelCenters and conducted by an independent agency in October 2018 to garner professional driver feedback on truck stop services and amenities.

Individuals surveyed rated their preference for TA and Petro versus the next closest truck stop brand. In the Overall Area, driver preference for TA and Petro was 6 to 1 for best truck stop experience and 7 to 1 for most comprehensive driver services. In the Employees Area, TA and Petro had the best employees 2 to 1 over the next closest truck stop brand; the best employee understanding of drivers 3 to 1; the friendliest maintenance and repair write-up staff 3 to 1; and the maintenance and repair staff most trusted to perform the job right 6 to 1. In the Fuel Area, driver preference was 2 to 1 for the quickest fueling time, and drivers said TA and Petro had the largest parking lots (6 to 1) that also were the easiest to maneuver (5 to 1).   

When it came to the Truck Repair & Maintenance Area, TA and Petro achieved high scores in categories including Most Complete Services (7 to 1), Most Competent Technicians (5 to 1), Most ASE Certified Technicians (8 to 1) and Best Roadside Assistance (4 to 1).

Other categories that drivers were surveyed about included Showers & Restrooms, Restaurants, Driver Comforts and Community Outreach. www.ta-petro.com

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Kate Wade

Polaris PRO XD Line

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Polaris Commercial has designed the all-new PRO XD, a breakthrough line of utility task vehicles (UTVs) purpose-built for work. The PRO XD line offers three diesel-powered models built to withstand the tough duty cycles and usage on the worksite, boasting industry-leading payload and towing capabilities and unmatched durability, serviceability and safety tailored to the commercial working customer.

The PRO XD provides payload of 1,930 pounds, towing of 2,500 pounds and world-class mobility that’s expected from a world leader like Polaris. Extensive research with rental, government and construction industry leaders showed that customer productivity and profitability in work environments that use UTVs are driven by vehicle durability, serviceability and safety – which is exactly what the PRO XD provides. The vehicle models are the two-passenger PRO XD 2000D, which is available in either two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and the four-passenger PRO XD 4000D, which is available in all-wheel drive. https://commercial.polaris.com

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Kate Wade

Hino Towing and Recovery Trucks

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This past spring, Hino Trucks announced the expansion of its product lineup with the introduction of the all-new XL Series. The Hino XL7 and XL8 models are powered by Hino’s legendary A09 turbo-diesel 8.9-liter inline six-cylinder engine boasting a B10 life of 1 million miles.

Production of the new Hino XL7 and XL8 trucks will start in early 2019, and the trucks will be assembled in Mineral Wells, West Virginia, at Hino’s new 1-million-square-foot state-of-the-art production facility. The Hino XL Series has been coupled with the versatile Century 3212 G2 that is designed with the capability of towing a wide range of vehicles, from passenger cars, vans, city tractors and motor homes. With multipositional rear jacks, dual 15,000-pound planetary winches and a 16-ton recovery boom, this unit was designed to handle a wide variety of recovery jobs.

In addition, the patented design of the Hino XL Series with a Miller Industries 16-Series LCG (Low Center of Gravity) carrier lowers the deck height 5 to 6 inches over conventional carriers. The lower height allows for the transport of taller loads, such as forklifts or manlifts, that may be overheight on a conventional carrier, as well as providing better stability during transport.

The Hino XL Series will be offered in a host of straight truck and tractor configurations with a GVWR range of 33,000 to 60,000 pounds and GCWR up to 66,000 pounds, with max performance of 360 horsepower and 1,150 pound-feet of torque. www.hino.com

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Kate Wade

Jarraff Quad-Track Brush Cutter

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Jarraff Industries has unveiled a new version of its recently rebranded brush cutter, the LineBacker (formerly Geo-Boy). The new LineBacker brush cutter features a four-quad-track undercarriage, an industry exclusive feature. The new quad-track configuration provides users with unparalleled mobility in the most challenging terrain. 

Jarraff Industries Director of Engineering and R&D Jake Schmotter said, “When it comes to heavy-duty brush cutters, arborists and ROW contractors have always been forced to make a choice between the low ground pressure and traction of a track machine, or the road-ability and flexibility of tires. The new quad-track brush cutter offers the best capabilities of a track and tire in one machine.”

In addition to the new quad-track configuration, the LineBacker offers an innovative touch-screen control center that gives the user unmatched operational input. The unit’s Cummins 260-horsepower, 6.7-liter Tier 4 diesel engine meets all EPA regulations, while improving overall fuel efficiency and roading speed. www.jarraff.com

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Kate Wade

Stertil-Koni High-Lift Wheel Dolly

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Confronted with growing requirements for added safety and performance in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance facilities, one relatively low-tech solution is emerging as a key player.

Meet the high-lift wheel dolly that, according to a recent review of best practices across North America conducted by heavy-duty vehicle lift leader Stertil-Koni, is enhancing ergonomics and versatility on the shop floor. 

Here’s how: The crane arm offers efficiency and stable ergonomics when lifting disc brakes, brake drums, fuel tanks, toolboxes, calipers and many other heavy parts.

Moreover, when it comes to lifting big wheels, the WDA-500 model is more than up to the challenge, with a capacity of 1,100 pounds. That comes in handy when a technician is removing large wheels that often can weigh up to 500 pounds each. The crane arm on the WDA-500, which is fitted with a 360-degree pivoting hook for greater range and flexibility, easily swivels aside to allow wheel removal operations to be completed without straining the technician.

The WDA-500 can accommodate wheel sizes from 10.63 to 51.18 inches. The dolly stands 47.17 inches high with a width of 45.28 inches and a length of 33.30 inches. Lifting height is 28.23 inches. It weighs 220 pounds. The high-lift wheel dolly also can be used with mobile column, platform and inground lifts. https://stertil-koni.com/vehicle-lifts/accessories-and-shop-equipment/shop-equipment/wheel-dollies

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Grounding Utility Fleet Trucks

There is probably not a fleet mechanic or fleet manager who has not heard something about grounds for trucks. But for all the talk about grounding trucks, including rules and commentary, there is very little consideration for how grounding connections are made to a vehicle. Unlike most every other procedure in the utility industry, there are no OSHA guidelines, consensus standards or best practices for connecting the truck to the truck ground. There are rules requiring grounding of trucks, but there are no best practices, procedures or methodologies for connecting grounds or ground attachments to trucks to allow grounding. So, that’s what we’re going to discuss in this installation of “Focus on Fleet Safety.”

For fleet managers to effectively facilitate the grounding of trucks, we need to understand the purpose of grounding and why it fails to do the job expected. Actually, the job expected often is the bigger issue because it may not be what you think. Grounding a truck does not directly protect workers from electrical shock, nor does it eliminate a shock hazard. Grounding trucks has one purpose: to cause immediate operation of a protective device. The protective device is the circuit breaker through which voltage and current are delivered to the electrical system. A truck is not an electrical conductor – it is a mechanical device, meaning that to ensure that current flow across the truck is sufficient to cause operation of the circuit protective device, an electrical connection must be employed to bypass the vehicle’s nonelectrical isolation from ground. Nonelectrical isolation refers to mechanical interfaces of bolted parts, the rubber tires and the outriggers on earth. Current has to pass these mechanical barriers to initiate circuit-breaker operation. In an electrical contact with a truck, the circuit breaker feeding the system in contact with the truck may not trip. As often happens, the circuit will continue to feed current into the vehicle, resulting in fire as well as a continuing electrical shock hazard to any person near the truck. So, the purpose of grounding is to create a good path for electrical current to flow. That good path causes a higher current to flow, resulting in fast tripping of the breaker feeding the electrical circuit. Fast tripping minimizes the damage to the electrical system and the truck.

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Sean M. Lyden

Storytelling for Fleet Safety

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If you’re rolling out a new fleet safety initiative, you can expect some pushback from crews in the field or technicians in the shop. That’s a given because people tend to resist change.

But what if you could improve the odds that your message will get past that resistance and be more memorable and impactful – that it will actually change behavior?

You can … by telling stories.

Think about it. Even if your organization equips vehicles with all the latest safety systems and provides extensive driver training, you can’t be with operators every day, 24/7, to make sure that they remember to follow through on company policies. But a good story will stick with those employees, reminding them of lessons learned, long after it has been told.

So, what makes storytelling a powerful leadership tool to increase your influence? Why do stories work? Here are three reasons.

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Dan Brenden

Using Technology to Eliminate Aerial Device Overloads

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Knowing bucket capacity and understanding how to read a jib load chart are two critical elements of aerial device operation. While both tasks are fairly straightforward, it is crucial to stay within the allowable capacity of the unit. The platform capacity and material-handling capacity provided by the manufacturer are not recommendations – they are absolute maximum capacities that ensure the machine is not overloaded. Overloading equipment can result in overturning or boom failure. Equipment damage also may occur, resulting in costly repairs and a shortened usable life for the aerial device.

A fully equipped lineworker with PPE plus tools and materials for typical line maintenance can quickly add up to 700 pounds or more for distribution work, and upward of 1,000 pounds for transmission work. Bucket capacity is identified on the ID plate and inside of the basket on most aerial devices. In addition, be aware of dual-rated buckets with different capacities based on configuration and use as a material handler; these types of buckets are available from some manufacturers. Before climbing in, lineworkers should verify that their weight – in addition to the platform liner, if used, and all of their tools and equipment – doesn’t exceed the bucket’s capacity.

“Don’t forget to account for boots, harness, tools and any components you may add to the bucket once you are elevated,” said Kyle Wiesner, aerial products engineering manager for Terex Utilities. “Tools such as phase lifters, crimpers, hydraulic drills or chain saws all add up. Weight of personal clothing can change with the weather, so don’t forget to recalculate come winter. If a component is in the bucket while work is being performed, that weight needs to be factored in as well.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Going Sideways: Technology that Protects Crews in Rollover Incidents

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It was early 2017.

A crew for Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) was traveling on the highway in a Class 8 digger derrick when the unforeseen happened.

There was a truck pulling a trailer ahead of them when, suddenly, the axle broke off that trailer and began hurtling, with wheels still attached, toward the digger derrick.

As the OG&E driver swerved to avoid the incoming debris, his truck flipped onto its side before coming to a stop.

“The driver was okay, and the passenger broke his hand, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Paul Jefferson, fleet manager at OG&E, who oversees about 2,000 of the utility’s fleet assets.

His crew was indeed fortunate. In fact, rollover crashes account for 55 percent of all commercial truck driver fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“The driver did a great job by setting [the truck] down on the shoulder of the road,” he said. “If they had gone any farther, they would have hit the embankment.”

This was an eye-opening experience for Jefferson and his team. After all, even when you equip your trucks with stability control and advanced collision-avoidance technologies, and your drivers consistently follow safety best practices, there still are incidents like this that your people won’t be able to avoid.

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Jim Galligan

Tips for Spec’ing Impact Attenuators

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Highway construction and maintenance worker fatalities have been on a steady decline for decades thanks to improved safety measures in and around worksites, including the use of following vehicles – also known as shadow vehicles – with truck- or trailer-mounted impact attenuators.

These highly visible vehicle buffers add another layer of protection for road and highway work crews by absorbing the impact of a crash from an errant vehicle. However, the industry has recognized that the current safety guidelines for these truck-mounted attenuators (TMA) and truck-trailer-mounted attenuators (TTMA) are outdated for today’s heavier vehicles and faster highway speeds, and new crash rating guidelines are due in 2020 (See “New TMA Guidelines Effective January 2020” sidebar). But in the meantime, industry executives offered several guidelines to consider when spec’ing a TMA or TTMA for today’s conditions.

The effectiveness of a TMA truck – its stopping power – depends on three core elements: the attenuator itself, the braking force of the TMA truck and the ballast used to increase the truck’s weight if necessary, said Samantha Schwartz-Lenhart, marketing and business development manager with TMA supplier Royal Truck & Equipment (https://royaltruckandequipment.com).

Attenuators – the actual buffers – are measured by their test level (TL) ratings. A TL-2 attenuator, for example, is qualified and tested to stop an impacting vehicle of a certain weight at a speed of 70 kmh (approximately 45 mph). A TL-3 attenuator is rated for 100 kmh (62 mph). “TL-3 is the maximum test level rating currently available on the market, and is the top tier for what is required when operating on highways where the average speed of traffic often exceeds those speed ratings,” Schwartz-Lenhart said.

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