This past month I had the opportunity to travel to Cache Creek, B.C. to witness, first-hand, the rollover threshold testing being carried out by Innovative Vehicle Testing (IVT) and the comprehensive ...
This past month I had the opportunity to travel to Cache Creek, B.C. to witness, first-hand, the rollover threshold testing being carried out by Innovative Vehicle Testing (IVT) and the comprehensive team of experts they had assembled.
What I saw left me thoroughly impressed. Not so much the results of the actual tests, but rather the results of the exercise on a whole.
There was an unprecedented level of cooperation between various government agencies, police forces, fleets and research groups.
Prior to the tests, IVT president Randy Baerg, insisted everyone, “bring their coveralls.”
They did just that and they weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Each day from sun-up until dusk they gathered at three key locations. The trucks were moved through the assembly-line process quickly and efficiently.
First, they were weighed and subjected to a thorough inspection by Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) inspectors.
It’s the first time I’ve seen trucks voluntarily lining up for such an inspection.
After that, it was off to the tilt table, where they were chained down and then tilted to see exactly how far they could go before the first axle lifted off the ground.
Next, it was off to the Ashcroft airport where the trucks were again weighed, and plugged into a data recording system before being run through several abrupt lane-changing maneuvers.
Logging trucks, chip trucks and tankers were among the configurations that were examined.
These were trucks that private fleets took out of commission for several hours to participate in the study.
Transport Canada representative, Mike Macnabb, told me that a study of that magnitude could easily cost more than $250,000 to complete independently.
But because everyone on-hand was donating their time, equipment and expertise, the research was done for a fraction of the cost.
Each of the participants took something different from the tests.
The RCMP will use what they’ve learned to help recreate crashes and determine the cause of deadly rollovers.
The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada will build on their knowledge of the stability of various log truck configurations.
Chevron fuels will have a better understanding of how a load of fuel reacts in their tankers during a sudden lane change.
Michelin will have more experience running their super single tires on different configurations.
But, I think there’s something bigger that everyone in attendance took home from the event.
I’m sure that when organizers first began mulling over the idea and began putting the groundwork into place, there were skeptics who thought it would be impossible to get such broad representation from within the industry.
Cache Creek is more than 300 kilometres from Vancouver and an hour away from the nearest city, Kamloops.
And after all, the results will be available to anyone who wants them, regardless of whether or not they were there to help out.
But the success of the week-long study demonstrates what is really possible when everyone chips in towards a common goal. A way of thinking I have found to be quite common among the various factions of the trucking industry, I might add.
Considering the current events unfolding in Afghanistan, it was very refreshing to not only see, but be a part of.
With Canadian soldiers being deployed to help out in the war against terrorism, it gives one hope that by working together with allies around the world, they will be equally successful in accomplishing their mission. And although their goals are vastly different, both groups are demonstrating the value of working together, and proving the old adage that two heads are better than one.
In times of turmoil around the world, it’s often the little things that give you hope.
– James Menzies heads our western news bureau and he can be reached at 403-275-3160.