MwRSF researchers conduct rare tractor-tanker crash test

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – On Wednesday, December 8th, the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility conducted a rare tractor-tanker crash to test a new design for a significantly shorter concrete roadside barrier.

According to assistant research professor, Cody Stolle, the test was the first of its kind in more than 30 years throughout the United States for a Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware using a tanker rather than the typical box trailer.

If the test is deemed successful, the newly designed 62-inch tall concrete roadside barrier could lead to the first change in national standards in decades.  The current standard is 90 inches tall and was last tested in the 1980s at the Texas Transportation Institute.

The tractor – a 2010 Freightliner Columbia – pulled a 1997 LBT T4249 tanker-trailer with a capacity of 9,400 gallons; however, it will only be loaded with 7,000 gallons of water, Stolle said. The weight of the vehicle during testing was about 80,000 pounds or the maximum weight allowed on interstate highways.

The vehicle was hooked up to a cable system and pulled to 65 mph by another vehicle along the tarmac.  At a designated point, the cable system was released, carrying the vehicle’s momentum toward the concrete barrier that was constructed for the test.

Play-by-play footage of the test was uploaded online for review by the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility.

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