- cross-reference: photos are available at:
Caption 1: News Team International 02/07/2001 Pic by Mike
Simmonds. Test Driving Photography at Motor Industry Research
Association, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK.
Caption 2: Monroe teaches Police "Shock Tactics" - News training
scheme launched for European police and motoring organisations
- Independent research has shown that the
effectiveness of such modern safety systems as ABS (Anti-Lock Braking
System) and ESP (Electronic Stability Control) can be seriously
compromised by worn shocks, and police forces in the UK have been
receiving expert tuition from Tenneco Automotive - the manufacturer
of Monroe, the world's leading shock absorber - in the dangers posed
by cars with worn or damaged shock absorbers.
Now Tenneco Automotive is launching Monroe shock absorber training
courses to alert European police traffic patrol and accident
investigation officers to this potentially lethal problem.
The key dangers of worn shock absorbers include reduced vehicle
control and braking and ABS efficiency, increased risk of skidding or
aquaplaning, increased tyre wear, uneven headlight level which can
dazzle on-coming drivers, increased driver tiredness and reduced
response rate, greater passenger discomfort and higher risk of car
sickness, and an increased risk of 'snaking' when towing a caravan or
The Monroe courses have already been successfully introduced in
the UK. Officers receive instruction in all aspects of shock
absorber theory, design and construction, and in the problems
associated with them not functioning correctly. They take part in
practical exercises, dismantling and re-building shock absorbers, to
ensure that they are fully familiar with all the working parts. In
addition, they are given demonstrations of worn units on and off
vehicles, shown how to spot suspension problems in a car on the road,
and are required to fit new units correctly to a vehicle, so that
they understand the mistakes that can be made when shock absorbers
To date, the courses have been held at Monroe's facility in York,
and parent company, Tenneco Automotive, is in the process of building
new premises in the York area for its Original Equipment Ride Control
Engineers, which will house a conference room and garage for use for
police training as well.
Monroe's Technical Training Manager for Europe, Africa and Middle
East, Bill Vincent, who initiated the courses in 1995, said, "We
would like to extend this training to European police forces. I
also strongly urge rescue services and other roadside organisations
to attend - I believe they would find the experience extremely
Police praise 'vital' tuition
The British police forces that have taken part have been unanimous
in their praise of the Monroe training programme, which has proved
beneficial to officers on traffic patrol and those charged with
investigating traffic accidents.
Traffic patrol officers are able to identify vehicles on the road
with suspension defects and alert the drivers, while accident
investigation officers have even greater knowledge to help them
pinpoint the cause of an accident. As a result of these courses,
many police forces have embarked upon their own publicity or safety
check campaigns to raise local motorists' awareness of the risks of
driving with worn shock absorbers.
"I feel this course should be a must for all accident
investigation officers", commented Mike Natt, Senior Accident
Investigator for North Yorkshire Police, while his colleague, Martin
Hemenway, Traffic Management Officer, said "Officers attending
commented that they felt all traffic officers should be sent on the
course as soon as possible. Even officers with 20 years service have
found the training invaluable."
Independent tests produce worrying statistics
One of the most important points taught on the course is that the
latest technology doesn't protect cars from the dangers of worn
shocks. Tests carried out by the German Vehicle Inspection Agency
(TÜV) proved conclusively that a new VW Beetle, equipped with the
latest ESP and ABS safety systems but fitted with worn shock
absorbers, can have a braking distance from 80km/h (50 mph) of up to
six metres longer than the same vehicle fitted with 100% efficient
'new technology' shocks. During emergency braking, the wheels of the
car with worn shocks lost contact with the road, reducing the
efficiency of the ABS system.
The same test was also conducted with a Renault Espace. Braking
distance increased by 3.9 metres with worn shock absorbers - a
distance which could make all the difference in the event of an
Both cars, when fitted with the worn shock absorbers, were more
difficult to control during lower speed obstacle tests, particularly
when cornering or caught in a cross wind. In the case of the Beetle
with the worn out shock absorbers, when the ESP system tried to
stabilize the vehicle, the braking distance increased, compromising
the benefits of ESP.
Monroe's Bill Vincent said, "It's clear that motorists and police
alike need to be made more aware of the dangers of worn shock
absorbers. We're delighted that those police forces that have taken
part in our training programme have found it so useful, and look
forward to training many more police officers in the future."
Building on the success of the UK courses, Bill Vincent has
recently structured Monroe's European Training Programme, which is in
use throughout Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Although the programme is 'tailored' for the individual countries,
the basis is the same. The message of vehicle, road safety and
passenger comfort is paramount in all languages.
ots Originaltext: Tenneco Automotive
For more information on police training please contact Bill Vincent,
European Technical Training Manager at: +322 706 9125.
Communications Manager Europe
Tenneco Automotive Europe
Tel +322 706 9147
Fax +322 706 9199