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NHTSA proposes new rear underride guard standard

Posted on December 15, 2015

One of the things that can influence the severity of a truck accident is what safety features the involved truck has.

There are a variety of different federal safety rules regarding truck safety features. Some of these rules regard what safety features 18-wheelers are required to have. Others regard what standards certain truck safety features are required to meet. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed changing the standards federal rules require truck trailer rear underride guards to meet.

These guards are aimed at preventing vehicles that hit the rear of an 18-wheeler from sliding under the truck’s trailer. Under current federal standards, such guards are required to be of sufficient strength to provide protection in collisions of up to 30 mph.

Under the new proposed standards, the required protective capacity of such guards would be raised to covering collisions of up to 35 mph. The proposed rule would bring the U.S. rear underride guard standards in line with those in place in Canada. According to the NHTSA, many currently on-the-market truck trailers have underride guards that already meet the new proposed standards.

The hope behind the proposed standard change is that raising the standard for rear underride guards will lower deaths and serious injuries in U.S. truck accidents.

Do you think the NHTSA will ultimately make this proposed standard change a final rule?

Of course, many things beyond a truck’s safety features can impact how severe an accident involving the truck ends up being, including driver conduct. When a truck accident causes injuries or deaths, it is not only important to pin down what things caused the accident, but also what things played a role in the severity of the accident. As skilled truck accident attorneys understand, having as full of a picture as possible of a truck accident and its surrounding circumstances can be critical to understanding what legal actions victims of the accident can pursue.

Source: Bloomberg Business, “Stronger Truck Guards Proposed to Cut Rear-Impact Deaths,” Jeff Plungis, Dec. 7, 2015