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Live demonstration of accident rescue from a truck cab
The rescue of injured drivers from truck cabs was demonstrated to a large audience for the first time during the Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring
- Professionals showed how drivers are rescued from an Atego or Actros cab using a hydraulic cutter/spreader system
- A crash-tested Atego and a brand new Actros were cut open for the purpose of rescue crew training
- Active demonstration of the Mercedes-Benz Guidelines for Rescue Services – rescue from the cab as the final element of the Mercedes-Benz truck safety strategy
- Demonstration of the safety systems in the Actros Safety Truck
Stuttgart – Adenau/ Nürburgring. The accident analysis team from DaimlerChrysler AG, the truck magazine publisher ETM as well as DEKRA Automotive joined forces to stage live demonstrations during the Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring under the mottos of "Preventing accidents" and "Rescuing accident victims".
The exhibits were a Mercedes-Benz Atego with a cab that had already been crashed in an accident test as well as a brand new Mercedes-Benz Actros - both were cut in the correct manner for occupant rescue, then opened to rescue the accident victims inside. In the past, this type of display had only ever been staged in front of experts from the rescue services. This was the first time that the rescue of accident victims from a truck cab following a crash had been demonstrated in front of such a large audience. Over the two days, over 150,000 onlookers followed the presentation live on the large-screen grandstand monitors, in addition to the 300+ spectators at the actual demonstration scene. Many more will, of course, have followed the action on television or read about it in the press.
The rescue presentations were staged by 20 members of the Ravensburg fire-fighting service, Dr. Rainer Zinser, an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in truck accidents, paramedics from Adenau, specialist cutter manufacturer Weber, as well as the team from Mercedes-Benz. The vehicles in action comprised two LF 16/20 fire tenders including the very latest model from Rosenbauer developed on the platform of the Atego, a rapid-response rescue vehicle built on the basis of a cross-country vehicle, as well as a rescue vehicle belonging to the Adenau branch of the German Red Cross.
The driver of the Atego - a professional truck driver chosen from amongst the spectators - was hauled out of the vehicle after just 15 minutes, while the Actros driver was rescued in around 25 minutes. This despite the frequent pauses to explain each of the individual steps to the rescue personnel present and to the spectators. To put it in its most simple terms, accident rescue from trucks is like opening a tin of sardines. In a series of individual steps, the cab was first fixed in position by means of tensioning straps, the front windscreen sawn out, the driver's door prised off its hinges using a spreader, the cab separated at the A-pillar, then the door sill slit open using a Y-cut, as it is known, in order to allow the crushed cab to be expanded using telescopic rescue rams. Finally, the accident victim was properly attended to by the emergency medic and the paramedics before being rescued from the vehicle by the fire crew.
After the official public demonstration, the event organisers also gave members of the regional fire-fighting services and of the Federal Technical Relief Agency the opportunity to receive training in the use of the rescue apparatus from the rescue experts from Weber Hydraulics.
A practical exhibition of the safety systems in the Mercedes-Benz Actros Safety Truck demonstrated the topic of "accident prevention" to the largest audience to date. First, the effectiveness of the Electronic Stability Program was illustrated, starting with an articulated truck without any assistance systems (but fitted with outrigger wheels) which showed just how quickly a tractor/trailer combination without Telligent stability control can tip over. The same driving manoeuvre performed in the yellow Safety Truck fitted with Telligent stability control, on the other hand, had no spectacular consequences and made it quite clear just how effective the system is. The thrilling highlight for the spectators in the Nürburgring grandstands was the demonstration of the Active Brake Assist system, when the Safety Truck automatically initiated a full application of the brakes at the very last moment as it approached a passenger car - representing the end of a tailback - from behind and came to a stop in time. In everyday traffic out on the road, this saves lives.
"We are delighted to be able to present the all-encompassing safety strategy of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. This is split into active safety, covering driver assistance systems such as the "stability control", "Lane Assistant", "proximity control" and "Active Brake Assist" systems featured in the accident-averting Actros Safety Truck, and into the passive safety systems, which serve to both help mitigate the consequences of an accident for both the truck occupants and the other road user involved and to expedite the swift rescue of truck occupants following a crash. For the first time, we have now been able to give a demonstration of this by cutting our Atego and Actros trucks and training the rescue crews based on the information in our Truck Guidelines for Rescue," explained Professor Hans-Christian Pflug from the advanced truck development department at DaimlerChrysler AG, who is also responsible for accident analysis and the safety strategy.
A truck driver's wife who was at the event remarked to the rescue crews there that she often worried about her husband when he was away trucking. After this demonstration she is bound to have gone home reassured in the knowledge that DaimlerChrysler, as well as being committed to designing safe trucks, also trains rescue services to ensure that, if her husband or any other truck driver is ever involved in an accident, they will be rescued in the correct manner.