Monroe Teaches Police 'Shock Tactics'
New training scheme launched
for European police and motoring organisations
- 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 trailer.
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 are fitted.
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 useful."
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 accident.
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.
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