What is an "Impact Attenuator"?
An Impact Attenuator, also known as an Impact Cushion, Crash Attenuator, Crash Cushion, Crash Pad, Energy Attenuator, or Energy Absorbing Cushion, is a device intended to reduce the damage to vehicles, structures, and, most importantly, motorists, workers, and bystanders from an automobile collision. Impact Attenuators are designed to absorb the energy of the colliding vehicle, and even redirect the vehicle away from a hazard, roadway machinery, and workers. Impact Attenuators are typically placed in front of guard rails, Jersey barriers, overpass supports, and construction work zones.
Truck Mounted Attenuators (TMA) are attached to vehicles that are prone to being struck by oncoming vehicles. Work Zone regulations specify a minimum safety, or buffer, distance between the vehicle, with an attached TMA, and the work zone. This distance is based upon a number of factors including: Mass of the truck with TMA, type of work zone (mobile/stationary), and type of TMA. Truck Mounted Attenuators are extremely important when working in Mobile Work Zones, especially when the truck's parking brake is not always engaged. TMA's have the added benefit of absorbing most, if not all, of the energy from the impacting vehicle; resulting in little or no damage to the truck.