What to Ask Before Investing in a Truck-Mounted Attenuator

Posted on: 15 April 2016

Before investing in a truck-mounted attenuator, or bump truck as they're often called, you want to ensure you choose the right type for your road crew or construction company. Those attenuators may look alike to you, but they have different features and capabilities. Since they're a big investment, you want to ensure you choose the right features for your needs. Note a few things to ask and cover with a sales agent before you opt for a truck-mounted attenuator.

1. Always ask about safe impact speeds, not just weight

The heavier the truck with the attenuator, the less of a distance it will travel when hit at a high speed; its weight will slow it down and keep it in place more readily than a lightweight vehicle. You may be looking at heavier vehicles and worrying only about the cost of fuel for their weight, but these are usually safer for areas where errant vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. If your road crew typically works near freeways and highways in particular, you want to consider a safe impact speed and not just the cost of fueling a heavier vehicle.

2. Note if the truck offers side impact protection

Most truck-mounted attenuators are meant to absorb impact from the rear of the attenuator; not all are designed to offer side impact protection. If you're worried about cross traffic hitting your truck from the side, you will need to note the angles of impact resistance from the attenuator. Attenuators with curved side rails may be the best choice for side impact resistance, as the curve of the rails will help to resist that impact. These rails should also be made of impact-resistant steel or another sturdy material that will keep your crew safe.

3. Ask if it has a modular design

A modular design for your truck-mounted attenuator will mean that you can easily replace just one section or piece if it should get damaged. Remember that incidental damage is not unusual for truck-mounted attenuators, from backing up, being bumped with other equipment, and the like. Having to replace the entire attenuator every time it suffers a dent or ding like this can get very expensive, and if you're investing in your own bump truck, you want to think about this type of long-term expense. Note if a particular design is modular and how easily it allows you to replace just one section, bracket, joint, or other such piece.