NHTSA Announces New ‘Rear-Underride Guard’ Rule for Trucks

the rear of an 18-wheeler

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final ruling, as a part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), that amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223, which details the specifications necessary for rear-underride guards, and No. 224, which requires trucks over 10,000 pounds to be equipped with rear-underride guards.

What is a Rear Underride Accident?

A rear underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with the back of a semi-truck, and the smaller vehicle becomes wedged beneath the truck's trailer. This is due to the height difference between the front of the passenger vehicle and the rear of the trailer.

These accidents are often fatal due to the amount of force generated by the collision. The weight of the trailer can crush the occupants of the passenger vehicle, or they may suffer severe brain injuries if their head strikes the trailer's edge.

What is the NHTSA New Rule?

Currently, FMVSS No. 223 and No. 224 maintain specifications for rear-underride guards that are designed to provide maximum protection for passenger vehicles that make an impact at 30 miles per hour. The new and final ruling seeks to increase this impact strength to 35 miles per hour.

While this may not seem like much of an improvement, it is, in fact, a "36 percent increase in crash energy", per the NHTSA.

Other Provisions to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Alongside the increased collision protection, the BIL seeks to continue developments in road safety through the following:

  • Establishing an Underride Committee - This committee will research and analyze data relating to side-underride accidents and determine whether or not adjustments and further improvements should be made.
  • Further Rear-Underride Research - The BIL instructs the NHTSA to perform additional research on the development and design of rear-underride guards to prevent damage from collisions of up to 65 miles per hour. Changes to current underride guard protections will be reevaluated after five years.

Injured in a Trucking Accident in St. Louis, Missouri?

Not all trucks are required to have these guards, and many do not. As a result, passenger vehicle drivers need to exercise caution when driving behind large trucks. They should avoid tailgating and always leave plenty of space between their car and the truck in front of them. Additionally, they should be especially alert in reduced visibility, such as at night or during a rainstorm. If you are involved in a collision with a truck and are seeking compensation, the trucking accident attorneys at Kolker Law Firm can help!

If you were injured in a trucking accident, contact us today at (314) 684-8285 or fill out our form online.

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