Scorpion Attenuator in High Speed Impact

We all know working on the road comes with a set of unique risks and hazards. Distracted drivers present some of the most major challenges to road workers and can cause them the most danger. On Sunday morning 19th February 2023, the Scorpion II Model C was put to the test in a high speed impact on Auckland’s harbour bridge and it was incredible to see the result. The critical point, is the driver survived the crash due to the Scorpion absorbing the impact and bringing the vehicle to a controlled stop. The driver was taken away to hospital for evaluation with no visible injuries. The driver of the TMA truck had the handbrake engaged as per the rules and reported that he felt a ‘small jump ahead’ upon impact. This shows the roll ahead of the Scorpion TL-3 MASH TMA is minimal, even in a crash which was suspected to be well over the permanent speed limit - reported speed well over 100km/hr.

The Scorpion performed its job and then some!

There was no debris from the attenuator itself, the crash was contained and the hydraulics remained intact. Thus the unit did not need to be uncoupled or the truck towed away. Crews were able to safely raise the Scorpion, as per its normal operation, and drive away from the scene of the impact. We are even salvaging the pump and hydraulic cylinders as spare parts! Each part of the Scorpion was called upon on the day of the impact. The initial absorber, the side arms, the sequential energy absorption of the remaining absorbers - all were in excellent working order and were able to save the driver’s life and protect the crew workers. The T8 Traffic Team are using this impact as a toolbox safety talk with their crew to highlight the importance of following all the rules in a TTM operation and RTL is publishing this article and pictures to raise awareness for having working, well maintained gear. Thank you to T8 team for looking after the motorists and each other and for sharing this information to raise industry awareness on a whole. 

Key Points:

  • No debris produced upon impact
  • Was able to raise and lock in for driving – hydraulics did not fail
  • No tow truck required – safe to drive after impact
  • Small roll ahead after impact – less than 5metres
  • Driver struck it at a reported speed well over 100km/hr, 5am, Sunday morning, harbour bridge

We encourage all customers who have Scorpion Attenuators in your fleet to recertify your attenuator with RTL. This annual check makes sure the unit is working as it should and can come to the rescue, in an incident of this magnitude. This can be done by our Booking Service.

Learning more about the Scorpion Attenuators:

After 17 years on the road, over 2,000 documented impacts, and thousands of lives saved across the globe, the Scorpion TMA's patented design is the safest and most reliable Attenuator available today! Scorpion’s compact, modular, low profile design features an open tubular design which crushes in progressive stages. Thus, lowering cost of repairs and replacement parts. Watch the video below to see more.

The TL-3 Scorpions can be can be used on a support vehicle from 6804 kg (15,000 lbs) with no upper weight limit. Other TMA's have a limited upper weight that cannot be exceeded. Under MASH, the tare weight of your Traffic Management Truck is critical. Should your truck tare weight be under or exceed the rated test weight of the Attenuator, your Attenuator will be non-compliant to MASH. Scorpion II TL-3 Range includes Model C, Model C with High Reach, C-90 Vertical Unit and the Trailer Attenuator. MASH TL-2 Range includes the MASH Metro TL-2 TMA for posted speeds of 80 kph or less.