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International safety award to Scania's Lars Gardell

Mr Lars Gardell, head of chassis and cab development at Scania, was recently presented a safety engineering award at a ceremony during the International Conference for Enhanced Safety of Vehicles in Melbourne, Australia. NHTSA, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, appointed Mr Gardell "for excellent leadership of safety engineering in truck development".

The Award for Safety Engineering Excellence is given annually to persons who "have provided extraordinary contributions, and outstanding leadership, in the field of motor vehicle safety engineering". Mr Gardell was nominated for the award because of his contributions to heavy vehicle safety over the past decade and for his determined work in search of safer and more efficient commercial vehicles (?).

Mr Gardell was born in 1934 on the Swedish island of Gotland located in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia. He moved to "continental" Sweden after completing his military service in 1954 for studies at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

He was employed by Scania-Vabis as a brake designer in 1960 and has since held positions within chassis and cab development. In 1966 he was appointed head of vehicle testing, in 1980 of the chassis development laboratory, in 1985 of Scania’s global technical co-ordination and in 1987 director of chassis and cab development.

During the 1960s, Mr Gardell operated as a haulier in parallel with his employment at Scania-Vabis, mostly transporting building materials all around Sweden - an activity that gave ample opportunities both to practice driving and learn the concerns of a truck owner.

During the past eight years, Lars Gardell has had the overall responsibility for the development of the 4-series trucks, a formidable challenge in many ways. The team led by Mr Gardell was faced with the task of replacing a very good product range with an even better one.

Some contradictory goals were formulated. The new range was to encompass twice as many models as the old range, yet the modular system had to be further refined. The performance of every single component had to be improved in all respects - including environmental respect and safety.

From a truck safety point of view, the 4-series is a major step ahead. Special attention has been paid to active safety, for example in the development of brakes, handling and ergonomics. Passive safety developments include driver restraint systems and crash and impact safety.