Improving Trailer Safety

NHTSA Improving Trailer Safety 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release regarding their proposed rulemaking on improved rear impact protection for trailers and semitrailers. They’re planning on upgrading the Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) that address underride protection for light-vehicles in crashes to the rear of trailers and semitrailers. The proposed rule could improve trailer and semitrailer crash safety by enhancing underride protection and visibility of single-unit trucks.

Underride Truck Accidents

Underride truck accidents occur when a car, usually a passenger occupant vehicle, hits the rear of a large truck and goes underneath it. Commercial trucks are much taller than traditional passenger occupant vehicles, so underride accidents are a very real threat for cars that hit the back of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. If a car slides under a semi-truck, the passenger compartment can become compromised, putting the lives of those inside at great risk for catastrophic and potentially fatal injuries.

Improving Rear Impact Guards

Currently, most large trucks have rear impact guards in place to help prevent underride crashes, but the proposed rule will require more robust guards. The beefed-up rear impact guards will help to significantly reduce the risk of death or injury to passenger occupants involved in crashes with tractor-trailers. The proposed rule is aimed at reducing the chance of and preventing passenger compartment intrusion (PCI) in the event of an underride or rear-end type crash. The new rule would require trailer and semitrailer guards to remain in place and prevent PCI in wrecks of severities of up to 35 miles per hour, versus the current requirement of up to 30 miles per hour.

Truck Accidents in California

Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than smaller passenger occupant vehicles like cars, minivans, SUVs and light trucks. For drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles, a collision involving a large truck can be devastating. Underride accidents are particularly dangerous for occupants in smaller cars and trucks.

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