Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers Discuss Proposed Upgrade to Underride Guard Regulations

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When two teenage girls died in a 2013 underride crash, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a petition to improve underride guards. In response, the National Highway Traffics Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new rules that would require stronger underride guards that would prevent passenger vehicles from sliding underneath trailers and semi-trailers in rear end collisions.

Canada already has more stringent rules in place, and this new proposal would make the U.S. on the same page as Canada in the policies they have been working on since 2007. However, some feel that more meaningful upgrades can be made. IIHS crash tests have revealed some lacking in Canadian standards, including no guarantee that guards will prevent underrides if a car rear ends a trailer. This is particularly true in the outer ends where the guards are the weakest. IIHS’ president urged the NHTSA to take advantage of the opportunity to examine a wider range of underride crashes.

Truck Crash Data

  • In 2014, it was reported that 371 out of 2,485 motorists killed in truck crashes died after their vehicle struck the rear of trucks.
  • According to a 2011 IIHS study, about one fifth of crashes involving a vehicle that struck the rear of a heavy truck had no underride or negligible underride.
  • Almost half of the vehicles had severe underride damage, with those vehicles responsible for 23 out of 28 fatalities in the study.

IIHS called on the federal government to establish a stronger underride guard standard and asked the NHTSA to provide test procedures to look at small overlap crashes. IIHS found that 30 percent of cases involving regulation underride guards involved wrecks wherein less than half of the vehicle overlapped the trailer. IIHS believes that NHTSA does not appreciate the scope of the issue.

According to IIHS crash tests, rear guards can be designed to prevent underride in small overlap crashes. Two trailers have passed the test, which involved 30 percent of the front of the car hitting the trailer at its outermost corner at 35 mph. The first trailer to pass this test was a 2012 model made by Manac Inc., a Canadian manufacturer. The second trailer was a newly designed trailer from Indiana-based Vanguard National Trailer Corp. This trailer prevented severe underride and intrusion into the car’s occupant compartment.

Both Manac and Vanguard have voluntarily equipped their trailers with rear guards that exceed safety standards, including:

  • Manac Trailers: Vertical supports are secured to a reinforced floor, which is located closer to the outer edges of the trailer. The design resulted in fewer injuries to the dummy and reduced damage to the trailer.
  • Vanguard Trailers: Extra vertical support tubes are placed at the ends of the underride guard. They are reinforced with a triangle support gusset. While the weld failed on the upper end of the tube and the gusset tore and bent, the guard prevented the Malibu from underriding the trailer.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Truck Accident Victims

 If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries from a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Maryland truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have helped thousands of victims get the justice they deserve and the financial settlement they need to help with expenses related to a crash. For a complementary consultation, call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

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