What is a TMA Truck?
A TMA truck stands for a Truck-Mounted Attenuator, and is now a staple in work zones around the United States. These trucks are notorious for being struck from behind, so by having an impact attenuator mounted on its back, it can help reduce the destruction a work zone crash causes. They can do this by absorbing the kinetic energy caused by the colliding vehicle. By doing so, the TMA truck can drastically reduce the severity of many work zone accidents. In this blog, we will be looking at two different types, the Blade and Scorpion TMAs. Although somewhat different, these trucks both have distinctive benefits that every work zone should know about.
The Blade TMA, manufactured by Verdegro, was first developed in August 2014 and first distributed in 2017. This TMA is different than other TMAs due to its vertical frame. This area is also known as the BLADE portion, and this allows for full use of the bed of the truck to transport cones and barrels.
When deployed, the Blade TMA attenuator reaches 19 feet and 4 inches in length, and a width of 7 feet and 6.7 inches. On this attenuator is a nuisance bar located toward the back. This bar can take a hit of up to 15 miles per hour to prevent crashes by being able to centralize the impact of the hit.
During impact, 2 H-beams connected to the wafer board slide back to absorb the impact. As they slide towards the truck, they cut down the middle to 4 cutters on each side. The main goal of this is to avoid debris from hitting both the workers and the vehicle. As a last line of defense, the Blade TMA is equipped with a steel truck stopper. This will absorb and dissipate all the remaining energy from the impact.
The Scorpion TMA, which is manufactured by Traffix Devices, has been saving lives in work zones for 17 years now. This TMA’s frame is connected by strut and cartridge sections. These open cartridges can increase fuel efficiency and decrease wind resistance.
When deployed, the Scorpion TMA attenuator is only 13 feet in length. This is because this attenuator also has a certain emphasis on reducing incidental impacts with the truck. By having a small frame, the truck is not only able to provide MASH approved work zone safety but is able to do so with a relatively smaller frame.
During impact, the design of TMA breaks down the accident into different stages, which decreases the impact to one area and can dissipate the force of the accident. This saves the structure of the truck and decreases the need for part replacements. The Scorpion also includes an aluminum honeycomb core that is in each energy absorbing cushion that provides an increase in durability to the TMA.
Both MASH Approved
Both the Blade and the Scorpion TMA are MASH tested and approved for the work zone. Now you may be asking yourself, what does this mean? Well, the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) was first designed by the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
This manual is designed, as described by the U.S. Department of Transportation, to present “uniform guidelines for crash testing permanent and temporary highway safety features and recommends evaluation criteria to assess test results.”
In general, MASH has certain requirements that deal with the MASH Approved TMA’s crash performance is judged on structural adequacy, occupant risk, and vehicle trajectory. This is important, as all TMA’s have different sizes with different responses to varying impact speeds and positions. To check out more specifications about MASH testing, click here.
Having a TMA is essential to having proper, modern day work zone safety, so it is important to know which is best for you. In this blog, we talked about how although different, the Scorpion and the Blade TMA each are beneficial for different reasons.
Purchasing a TMA truck is a big choice, and there are multiple options, so be sure to read up on their qualities before deciding!
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