Another terrorist truck attack, like the one that unfolded in Nice on Bastille Day, could be averted if proper road blocks, such as the KarabloK hostile vehicle mitigation system, were deployed.
Gareth Neale, Director of KarabloK, said: “If we want to live in a free and open society we can never remove all the risks but we can minimise them and the KarabloK system is really effective way of stopping lorry attacks.”
As the crowd enjoyed festivities on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais on July 14, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel deliberately drove a truck through them, leaving 84 people dead and more than 300 injured.
“Trucks are easy to get hold of – Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had apparently hired the truck he used – and if someone is intent on attacking a crowd of people, they can be a dangerous weapon,” said Gareth.
“There’s little we can do to stop people getting hold of trucks but we can protect key locations by stopping them entering.
“In Nice the authorities were already trying to protect people by deploying temporary barriers and stationing police cars next to them. But these were only designed to direct traffic away from the pedestrianised area rather than stop a truck crashing through.
“A KarabloK barrier, however, is designed to stop lorry attacks. It’s what the security industry call a ‘hostile vehicle mitigation system’. It’s made up of large individual precast concrete blocks which are filled with ballast, such as hardcore, and pinned together with a unique coupling system.
“And its key characteristics make it the obvious choice for protecting public events, such as the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.”
The blocks need no foundations and do not need pinning to the ground. They can be deployed quickly before an event and removed again just as quickly afterwards. And the individual blocks can be stored and reused.
KarabloK is the only precast concrete barrier system in the world that is certified for an impact load of 7.6 tonnes (17,000lb) at 50mph.
Blocks can be mounted in multiple layers and the system can be used to protect against explosions –in some parts of the world truck-bombs are all too common.
“It’s also important not to make our public places look like concrete fortresses, so KarabloKs have been designed to look good too,” said Gareth.
“They come in a range of high-quality finishes and you can even have plants growing out of the top of them.
“The truck used in Nice was 19 tonnes. The standards tests we passed didn’t use a vehicle of that size but we know that just a single layer of KarabloKs will stop a 7.5 tonne truck travelling at 50mph in its tracks. The truck actually disintegrates while the KarabloK barrier remains intact.
“To protect events, such as the Bastille Day celebrations, the blocks could have been deployed either as barriers across the whole road or perhaps as a two shorter, staggered barriers producing a chicane to stop larger vehicles while allowing smaller ones to pass slowly through. And you could even put a gateway in the barrier to allow pedestrians through.
“Obviously, it’s too late for the people of Nice but we can learn from the tragedy that unfolded there.
“It would not require many blocks to seal roads like those around the Promenade des Anglais. Using a crane, they could be deployed wherever the authorities wanted them for any particular event in a matter of hours and the system wouldn’t be expensive.
“Terrorism is not going to go away. Public events are always going to be a target and, as the tragedy in Nice all to clearly demonstrates, lorries are an obvious weapon. But if we can minimise the risks they pose, surely that’s a good thing.”