NHTSA Says Semi-Trailer Truck Underride Collision Guards Wont Prevent Deaths in High-Speed Crashes

In an effort to decrease severe injuries and fatalities related to truck underride collisions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently proposed a new safety rule which would require all semi-trailer trucks to have stronger rear-impact protection guards.

Also known as an underride collision guard, a rear-impact protection guard is a rigid assembly that hangs down from the bottom rear of the trailer. It is intended to help protect the occupants of passenger cars that collide with the back of the trailer.

Semi-truck underride collisions occur when a vehicle impacts a tractor-trailer and slides underneath. Most underride collisions involve a small passenger vehicle and a truck that is much larger – with a much higher undercarriage clearance – and can often result in life changing personal injuries for those involved.

The NHTSA’s new rule focuses on upgrading the terms of an existing rule that is currently in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Under the existing rule, most semi-trucks are required to have rear-impact protection guards installed to prevent vehicles from sliding underneath the trailers carriage in the event of a rear-end collision.

However, NHTSA administrators claim current rear-impact protection guards are not strong enough to prevent injuries or fatalities from occurring during high-speed, high-impact crashes. With many states currently raising the minimum speed limit on roads and highways, NHTSA administrators predict the need for stronger, more durable rear-impact collision guards.

To enhance undercarriage collision safety, the new NHTSA rule proposes all semi-trucks be equipped with stronger rear impact guards specifically designed to prevent serious injuries or deaths as a result of high-speed crashes.

The new rule also addresses the issue of underride protection for compact or light-weight vehicles involved in semi-truck rear-end crashes. When a compact or light-weight vehicle collides with a semi-truck at a high rate of speed, it is not uncommon for passenger compartment intrusion (PCI) to occur.

PCI is when a small vehicle slides under a big rig far enough for a large portion of the trucks trailer to enter the inside of the vehicle through the windshield. PCI can result in severe injuries, decapitation and death to the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle.

The NHTSA believes that stronger, more durable rear impact guards may prevent PCI by stopping a smaller vehicle before it slides too far beneath the trailer.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a semi-truck underride collision, contact a truck accident attorney in Sacramento at Arnold Law Firm today. Our personal injury lawyers have great sympathy for all victims injured in truck accidents and will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call (916) 777-7777 or fill out our form for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.