IIHS Asks NHTSA for Stronger Underride Rule

This month, the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety reignited efforts to address the underride problem and petitioned the federal government to “require stronger underride guards that will remain in place during a crash and to mandate guards for more large trucks and trailers.”

The Institute based its latest effort on a study using the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a federal database of roughly 1,000 real-world crashes in 2001-03.  The organization examined crash patterns leading to rear underride of heavy trucks and semi-trailers with and without guards and found that underride was a common outcome of the 115 crashes involving a passenger vehicle striking the back of a heavy truck or semi-trailer. Only 22 percent of the crashes didn’t involve underride or had only negligible underride, which they indicated was consistent with prior studies.  The study noted that “In 23 of the 28 cases in which someone in the passenger vehicle died, there was severe or catastrophic underride damage, meaning the entire front end or more of the vehicle slid beneath the truck.” Continue reading

Are Rear Underride Guards Overrated?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to know what you think about its latest technical report on the non-effectiveness of rear underride guards. The request for comments is part of a long, slow evaluation process of FMVSS 223 and 224, which require the underride guards meet a strength test on trailers with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds.

The standard has been in effect since 1998. In 2004, the agency announced that it would be evaluating the efficacy of these standards. The report, a statistical analysis of crash data from two states involving trucks with compliant underride guards found no statistically significant preventative effect. The agency looked at data from Florida and North Carolina and found decreases in fatalities and serious injuries to passenger vehicle occupants in a rear-end crash with a tractor-trailer. Continue reading