News and articles about Royal Truck & Equipment

Royal Truck & Equipment believes that knowledge is power. That is why we have been compiling the latest industry specific current events. We like to stay up to date on what is happening in our industry so we can better our designs and distribution. This page is devoted to helping to keep you informed so you may stay at the top your game also. Check out the drop down links below to see what’s what in the Commercial Truck, Construction, Forestry, Refuse, and Safety Industries today!

Volume #1 –

Are you Certified and Legal?

Is your Crash Truck covered by a proper certification?  Is the truck certified to operate in the states you work in?  Does it have a “Jersey Cert”?  If you don’t know, the answer is almost certainly “NO”.  This could be a problem if you own or operate Attenuator Trucks in certain areas of the country and in some states.  This newsletter will be the first installment in our best-practices series on TMA trucks.

In the crash attenuator truck industry, there are many specifications, standards, regulations, rules, instructions, manuals, and general guidelines to follow – enough to almost make the banking industry look simple.  In fact, regulations exist both at the Federal and State levels.  They can cover anything from manufacturer’s specs for installation to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for industry-wide product usage.  Being certain you are operating legally will depend on where your company is located and, more important, where your trucks will be in operation.  Unfortunately, because there is no single comprehensive standard for the industry that is both agreed-upon and enforced by federal and state DOTs, knowing what applies to you and your company can often prove difficult.  Untitled-2

Many people do not know there is a “Best Practices” standard for some aspects of TMA truck construction.  Our newsletter series highlights how companies can evaluate their fleet and ensure they are following these best practices to provide safety in the work zone.  This issue addresses how to secure the ballast of an Attenuator truck properly.  Fortunately, there is a well-defined standard on this topic, known in the Northeast as the New Jersey Certification.  New Jersey has done for the TMA industry what California has done overall for emissions in the commercial truck industry.

Few areas in the US have been as proactive as the state of New Jersey in their efforts to create a set of safety standards that protect workers in the work zone.  New Jersey requires what is commonly called a “Jersey Cert” (short for New Jersey mandated Engineers Certification) for all Truck Mounted Attenuators (TMA trucks) that operate within the state.  While New Jersey’s requirements are by no means comprehensive on other aspects of TMA construction, they do provide an important step toward improving safety and standardization for the work zone.

To give a brief overview, a New Jersey Certification requires a thorough review and analysis of a truck’s design and build by a licensed engineer.  Complex and certainly NOT inexpensive when completed, a Jersey Cert is essentially a  20+ page document stating that the ballast of an attenuator truck meets New Jersey’s standard, which includes some of the strictest requirements in the industry.  New Jersey dictates that the ballast of an attenuator truck must be properly secured so that it will not come free on impact.  Prior to instituting this certification process, TMAs in New Jersey frequently used what are commonly known as “Jersey Barricades” chained to the bed of the truck as ballast.  Problems with the barricades breaking free on impact, injuring or killing workers compelled New Jersey to take action to prevent future injury or loss of life.

While by no means the consistent standard throughout the US, Royal is seeing evidence that this type of certification is being adopted as one of a best-practice set of standards in the industry.  Because a New Jersey Certification is broadly seen as the strictest standard with regard to properly weighting a TMA, rather than developing multiple different state-specific standards, it has been suggested that some states informal adopt the New Jersey standard.

While it may not be necessary for every owner / operator to know what a New Jersey Certification is, Royal suggests that that anyone attempting to purchase, lease, or rent an attenuator truck know whether a certification is or may soon be required in their state.  If a certification is required, users should make sure they are provided with a complete certification, specific to the design and build of the individual truck they are operating, and not a blanket certification or photocopy of an old certification.

A single-page New Jersey Certification that is simply a photocopy of a previous certification done on a similar design-build will not suffice.  Such documentation does not reference the specific truck that the certification is being applied to.  A proper certification should have the VIN number tying that certification to a specific truck.  It is important to note that the truck year, make, and model do affect the certification’s validity in the event of an impact.   Companies considering expanding operations into New Jersey should note that, on the work site, the “Jersey Cert” is the first thing a DOT inspector will ask to see.  If you are already operating in New Jersey and do not have this certification, be prepared for problems.  According to some sources there are only two “strikes” in this ballgame.  A second “strike” for a violation and that truck may not be allowed to operate in the state again – ever.

Additionally, in an industry that builds TMAs from repurposed used trucks, any final stage manufacturer can attest to the alterations required in order to comply with federal standards for completing a truck that has been altered from its original build.  Any vehicle that has had its purpose altered from the truck’s original use, such as a box truck remanufactured to become a TMA, needs final stage certification, which requires the manufacturer to comply with all of the regulations that would apply during the final stage certification process of a newly manufactured truck.

What do you really need to know?

While all of this can seem complicated, for the average buyer there are only a few key points that are important, and those can be summed up in a few questions:

  1. Does the truck have any engineering certification?
  2. Is it a “Jersey Cert”?   
  3. Is that certification truck-specific, meaning that this specific vehicle and its unique VIN number were certified by the engineer?
  4. Will a copy of the 20+ page report be provided with the truck?

 

If you are not sure you are getting what you need, you should consult a manufacturer who provides certified TMAs to the industry.  Royal Truck & Equipment, Inc. does just that.

While an engineering certification, such as the Jersey Cert, may seem to be just another burdensome regulation or additional expense imposed on an industry overflowing with costs, Royal takes a somewhat different perspective.  Royal believes that an engineering certification, and more specifically a New Jersey certification, provides the owner with several benefits.  It guarantees that:

1)  the company is aligned with what many believe to be the best practices of the industry,

2)  in the event of an accident, a certified truck ensures the most stringent standards were used in the truck’s construction,  providing the highest percentage chance that the workers will return safely home to their families,

3)  if there is an injury or fatality, certification illustrates clearly that the owner of the truck made all attempts to operate within the best practices of the industry.  If the truck manufacturer places its final stage manufacturer’s decal on the truck, this would also indicate that the manufacturer is standing behind its work.

At Royal Truck & Equipment, when we obtain a New Jersey certification for a truck, we are guaranteeing that the truck’s individual build specifications have been reviewed by a licensed engineer and adhere to the strictest standards in the industry.  Royal obtains the proper documentation in the form of a 20+ page certification report that is specific to that exact vehicle and build, providing the vehicle owner with two copies – one to keep in the truck itself, and one for their files.  Royal also maintains a third copy in our permanent records, including detailed photos and the weight certificate for the truck.  In the event that your truck is involved in an accident, you can be confident that Royal stands behind its work and that the state of New Jersey has certified your vehicle based on the strictest standards of safety.  Even if Royal is not asked to obtain certification for your truck, you still get the benefit of Royal’s standard build, which follows a the same proofed design to ensure that virtually any TMA truck that comes from our facility will pass a New Jersey Certification process.  This is, of course, particularly important if the truck will be operating in a state that requires or may soon require such a certification.

However, even if your state does not require any certification, how do you know that the truck you are buying and operating is in keeping with the best practices of the industry?  In the event of an injury or fatality, how do you know the manufacturer will stand behind its work?  Royal’s answer to these questions is attached to every truck we build in the form of a Final Stage Manufacturer’s decal, a topic we will discuss in detail in our next issue.

For questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Royal Truck & Equipment, Inc.

You may contact us by phone at 888-896-7795 or through the inquiry form below.

New Jersey Department of Transportation Standards for Road and Bridge Construction

Section 617.03 – Traffic Control Devices
Subsection 6 – Traffic Control Trucks with Mounted Crash Cushions

The trucks shall weigh a minimum of 10 tons gross when in use for traffic control.  The trucks shall be adaptable to mounting crash cushions at the rear and illuminated flashing arrows on the bed or on the rear of the trucks.

The crash cushions shall be lightweight systems designed by the manufacturer for installation at the back of the trucks.  The crash cushions shall meet the safety performance recommendations of the NCHRP Report 350.  The crash cushions shall consist of crushable yellow energy absorbing modules, hydraulic tilting systems, and backup structures designed for attaching the system to the trucks.  The rear facing of the modules shall have 4-inch wide black strips on high retroreflective yellow sheeting in an inverted “V” pattern.  The retroreflective sheeting shall be Type II or Type III-A as specified in Subsection 916.04.  The crash cushions shall have standard trailer lighting systems including brake lights, taillights, and turn signals.  All exposed steel shall be primed and painted yellow.

The illuminated flashing arrows shall be 4 by 8 foot boards conforming to Subheading 3 above.

The mounting of the crash cushions at the rear and the illuminated flashing arrows on the bed or on the rear of the trucks shall be according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  The illuminated flashing arrows shall be fully visible, at all times, to vehicles approaching or following either a stationary or moving operation.

(Supplement added in 2007) The Resident Engineer shall be provided with a copy of the crash cushion manufacturer’s recommendations.  The traffic control truck shall be positioned to ensure that adequate stopping distance is available after impact and to prevent errant vehicles from endangering workers.  The trucks equipped with manual transmission shall be placed in second gear and trucks equipped with automatic transmission shall be placed in “park” gear while in fixed position.  The parking brake shall be set and the wheels shall be turned to avoid rolling into live traffic.  Traffic control trucks shall not be used in place of other temporary impact attenuators for more than 24 hours.  The traffic control truck shall be relocated as specified by the Traffic Control Plan, or as directed by the Resident Engineer.  The trucks shall not be used to carry additional equipment, materials, or debris.  If ballast is to be used, the Resident Engineer shall be provided with Working drawings for certification detailing the method of securing ballast to the truck.  The Working Drawings shall be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer verifying that it is capable of withstanding the impact forces for which the impact attenuator is rated.

Crash cushions that are damaged or become inoperable shall be repaired or replaced.  An adequate number of replacement parts to repair damaged units shall be available on the Project without additional compensation.

Why Attenuator Trucks (TMAs) Are Not A DIY Project For Any Company

 

Most federal, and a growing number of state, highway contracts now require the use of truck-mounted crash attenuation devices, commonly called TMAs. If you are not familiar with these support vehicles (TMA trucks), they are used to protect roadside highway workers from oncoming traffic. Properly used, these devices give roadside highway workers a significantly increased measure of safety.  BUT, improperly used or deployed in the work zone, the safety afforded by TMA trucks is at best illusory, and at worst a worrisome source of substantial liability for the highway contractor or owner of the equipment.

As the president and owner of ROYAL TRUCK & EQUIPMENT, INC., the largest manufacturer of TMA trucks in North America, I can tell you from experience that many of the TMA trucks I have seen in use on US highways represent significant potential liability problems for the highway contractors who utilize them. With increasing frequency, I have been asked to be a consultant and/or expert witness in instances where improper mounting or deployment of a TMA has resulted in failure of the TMA to achieve its intended purpose – saving lives.

My company, ROYAL TRUCK & EQUIPMENT, INC. is based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, and is a major supplier of TMA trucks to state DOTs, national and state highway construction contractors, and large rental fleets. Our company is in the business of saving lives through the proper production and use of TMA trucks. We have a vested interest in ensuring that the people responsible for the purchase and utilization of highway safety vehicles are well-informed and educated.  A well-informed decision will ultimately prevent an enormous amount of liability for the owner/operator and will very likely save lives in the event of an accident. In the work zone safety industry, a properly built and utilized TMA truck is the equivalent of using a seat belt for the everyday automobile driver.  It is that important!

ROYAL specializes in remanufacturing commercial truck chassis to operate as safety and support vehicles in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) and all additional federal and state regulatory requirements related to the construction of safety vehicles. Specifically, ROYAL reconfigures and/or reinforces the chassis as necessary, properly rolls the axle(s), installs a new special-use body, installs any required ballast to avoid overloading any individual axle, and properly installs a TrafFix Scorpion Truck Mounted Attenuator. Then, as a final stage manufacturer, ROYAL recertifies the truck for use as a TMA support vehicle, an additional step that almost no other manufacturer takes, placing the liability for the design and construction of the vehicle in the hands of ROYAL.

We are often asked why ROYAL focuses on utilizing used trucks rather than new trucks. The answer to this question is simple: the intended purpose of the vehicle is to stand as a barrier between oncoming traffic and any workers operating within a work zone.  In other words, it is meant to be in an accident!  If the TMA truck serves its intended purpose, when it is struck by an errant vehicle, there is virtually no difference between an altered new or used vehicle.  When built properly, both will provide almost identical levels of protection. In fact, perhaps the most important qualities of the truck are not whether it is new or used but other features, such as the weight of the vehicle, the braking system, and its proper usage within the work zone.

This is the first of several segments ROYAL will be doing on the use of TMA Trucks and the decision making factors behind how and what features are important when placing a TMA Truck into service.  For further information, or to ask questions about anything in this article, please contact ROYAL at info@royaltruckequip.com .

Rob Roy
President & Owner
Phone: 610-282-4090
Royal Truck & Equipment, Inc.
www.tmatrucks.com    www.royaltruckequip.com

Bus Crashes into Attenuator Truck          Royal TMA Crash

Attenuator Truck Saves Lives

 

NBC Washington News
June 6 2011

A commuter bus collided with a construction vehicle in Fairfax, bringing traffic on the Dulles Toll Road to a crawl.

Fairfax police said the crash occured in the east bound lane of the Dulles Airport Access Road 1/4 mile from Trap Road.  Police report numerous injuries.

The access road was closed down, with the traffic diverted over to the toll road.  Extensive delays continued hours later, and police advise motorists to avoid the area.  For a long time immediately following the crash, traffic was at a complete stand-still, with motorists out of their cars and walking in the middle of the road, stuck.

The bus involved is part of the  Loudoun County Transit commuter fleet.  The bus collided with the back of a heavy construction vehicle, which in turn collided with a sedan.  The trunk of the sedan was completely caved in by the impact.

Emergency workers assisted injured passengers off the bus, using stretchers.  In total, emergency medical personnel transported 13 to the hospital, none with life-threatening injuries.

The construction vehicle involved in the crash has leaked over 80 gallons of fuel onto the road.  Authorities said that the vehicle was what is called a crash-attenuator, parked at the start of construction zones to shield workers from traffic.  The traffic attenuator would have had arrows on the back, directing traffic into the adjacent lane.

The driver of the commuter bus got charged after the crash, for failing to maintain control.