Safety First! The EcoCAR Teams Are Faced with Safety and Technical Inspections

The very first event that teams must pass when they get to competition is the Safety Technical Inspection. Safety is always the top priority being stressed during competition, and organizers don’t want the vehicles and teams doing anything until they know their vehicle is completely safe. But the team of safety inspectors also uses the event as a teaching opportunity.

“We don’t just tell them that a certain part of their vehicle won’t pass safety inspection,” said Danny Bocci, one of the safety inspectors. “We tell them why it’s wrong and help show them how to fix it. We want them to have a solid foundation built on safety when they go into their automotive careers.”

ANL's Mike Wahlstrom talks to students during the Safety/Tech inspections.

Teams began going through Safety Inspection yesterday morning, but because the rules are very strict, most get a list of items to repair or change before they are officially passed.  Safety inspectors reported that many teams struggled with their electrical system.  Because each team designed their own systems, some of the wires were either too large or too small, and because this was a high voltage area, it’s really important. They soon learned that if their parts were too small, they might be just the right size for another team. Soon several of the teams were exchanging parts.

“One team’s oversized part is another team’s treasure,” said Bocci.

The garage has been a buzz of activity all day, with teams scrambling to be the first to pass Safety Inspection. With several teams almost done with their safety checklist, vehicles will soon be out on the track, undergoing rigorous qualifying events.

Check out the video below to see highlights from Day One: teams arriving, Skit Night and EcoCARs in Safety/Tech and other qualifying events.