Despite everything you need to consider when adding a truck to your fleet, purchasing a TMA truck doesn’t need to be stressful or confusing for you!  We are here to help!  Here is everything you need to know before purchasing a TMA truck to ensure the process is a simple as possible and you end up with the exact truck you need!

1. Regulations

First and foremost, you must know your state’s regulations for TMA trucks. Ideally, this should be the first step in your journey of finding the attenuator truck that you should use for the job.  Unfortunately, there is no set of uniform nationwide regulations for how a TMA truck must be built to meet.  As such, you should always begin your TMA truck purchasing process by consulting your state’s regulations.

With no nationwide set of regulations, states have the authority to set their own rules for how an attenuator truck can be built.  Some states, such as New Jersey and Texas, have incredibly strict regulations, while others do not have any regulations at all.

At Royal, we always recommend treating these regulations as the minimum conditions that must be met.  You can, and in some cases, should, always go well above and beyond what your state requires in your TMA truck’s build.

To find the regulations that apply for you, consult with documentation on your state’s Department of Transportation website for specific information.  Need help?  Request a comprehensive guide to your state’s regulations here!

2. Liability

An attenuator truck that is built by a final-stage manufacturer will help you in the long run. Required by the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), any company that builds or modifies a truck to completion needs to certify that the truck meets all the relevant federal safety standards. Construction companies all over face liability concerns every day that often result in losing money. Final-stage manufacturers will stand by their product, and back you in court if needed. Don’t take on the stress and worry – check for a final-stage sticker on the truck. It is usually placed on the inside of the driver’s side door. To make things simple for you, Royal affixes a Final Stage Manufacturer’s sticker to all the TMA trucks that we build, both new and used!

3. Attenuator

The attenuator you choose for the truck depends on not only your preference but also your state’s requirements. If your state has detailed regulations, be sure to check what attenuators have been approved for usage.  Often this is in a document called the “Approved Products List”.

Ultimately, you should always ensure that the attenuator on your truck is MASH tested and approved.  For those who do not know, AASHTO’s Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) guidelines are a direct replacement to NCHRP Report 350.  As a replacement, MASH presented updated testing guidelines for testing a truck mounted attenuator’s crash-worthiness.  To do this, MASH updated the testing requirements outlined in NCHRP Report 350, making them much more realistic replications of actual crashes in current work zones.

With testing requirements becoming increasing difficult to pass, there are only two currently MASH-approved truck mounted attenuators on the market today (as of May 2019): TrafFix Devices’ Scorpion II TMA, and Verdegro’s BLADE TMA.

To learn more about MASH, read our entire blog on the subject here or watch our episode of TMA Trucks A to Z all about it above!

It is clear that when looking to add an attenuator truck to your fleet, the research is necessary. Having all the right facts is essential and knowing that the truck is going to protect you in the work zone will allow you to focus more on getting the job done.

Now that we know generally what you need to consider, there are several direct questions you should ask throughout the purchasing process to ensure the truck you add to your fleet also adds value to your operations.

Does Your TMA Truck Weigh Enough?

The weight of a TMA truck is extremely important.  In the event of a crash, a truck that is underweight will take a devastating roll forward into your work zone. A TMA truck should roll off the lot at 20,000 lbs. Less weight means more liability on you if your crash truck isn’t heavy enough to fully protect your crew. Some states, such as New Jersey, enforce a minimum weight for crash trucks before it can be certified for that purpose.

To learn about the dangerous roll-ahead distance of a TMA truck, watch our episode of TMA Trucks A to Z entirely on the subject!

Will This TMA Truck Be Used for More Than One Job?

Highway construction requires the use of many truck types to get the job done; often companies try to utilize trucks for more than one purpose. While that seems smart, it can also be extremely dangerous. Crash Trucks are built to be hit. It’s not safe to have your crew on the back of this truck while the TMA is deployed for crash protection. Laws in some states prohibit it.  If you do plan to have employees in the back, you should purchase an additional TMA truck to give your employees maximum protection. There are also multipurpose trucks that give you the ability to transform your TMA into other trucks in just a few minutes. Just keep in mind, your employees’ safety is priceless!

How Many Safety Features are You Looking to Have on Your TMA Truck?

The more safety features your TMA truck has, the safer you and your crew can be in the work zone. Some TMA builds are as basic as possible because they’re meant to get hit. You might be asking yourself, Why have all kinds of safety on my truck if it is just going to be wrecked in the event of an accident? You may be asking yourself the wrong questions. The right question is: In the event of an accident, did I provide my crew with the best equipment possible to keep them safe? Am I protected from liability with the capability to record an incident? A truck built with safety in mind, instead of cutting costs, actually reduces the risk of injury and the massive costs associated with taking on liability.

Conclusion

There is a lot to consider when buying your next TMA truck or your first. Always keep in mind that safety is number one! Before deciding, you want to ensure you are as informed as possible about all of your options!

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