New Truck Underride Guards Considered by NHTSA

Trucking is an important industry for the country as a whole as it moves product across the nation and employs millions. But trucks are forced to share the same roads as passenger vehicles, a fact that can sometimes lead to conflict when an impact occurs. No matter the cause of a crash, odds are that those in a passenger car, SUV, or pickup truck will bear the majority of the force – these vehicles simply are not constructed to withstand an impact with a large, heavy, and often difficult to maneuver semi-truck.

Decades ago, national regulations were implemented to consider the consequences of passenger safety when a semi-truck accident happens on America’s roads. One provision required the use of underride guards, commonly visible to motorists as the metal crossbar that hangs down from the rear of a semi’s trailer. These underride guards are designed to stop a car that is colliding with the rear of a truck, thereby preventing the car from becoming lodged underneath the trailer. By preventing a car from traveling under a trailer, the odds of serious injuries to those in the car decrease significantly, limiting the harm sustained and the number of fatalities that can be attributed to truck accidents.

Presently, all trailers that are required to use underride guards must have guards that can stop a car traveling at 30 miles per hour. However, many collisions happen at speeds greater than that, prompting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to consider new guidelines for the guards which must stop impacts happening at 35 miles per hour.

Though the change from 30 to 35 miles per hour may not seem significant, statistics bear a different story as it is estimated that this change will prevent several serious injuries and possibly even a fatality every year, should the new guards become mandatory.

Several public and private entities petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for stronger regulations concerning underride guards after testing showed failure issues with current guards and after serious accidents recently claimed lives. Among those who support increased standards for the guards is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition.  Industry-wide, officials estimate that the cost of compliance with new regulations should be approximately $13 million.

When you realize that a single truck accident can produce millions of dollars’ worth of financial damages, these new measures seem very reasonable and cost effective. As injuries are prevented or lessened, the decreased cost for the use of these new guards will be recouped quickly.

Until all crashes are eliminated, though, people will continue to be hurt and will be in need of help. If a truck accident affected your life or claimed the life of someone you love, the laws in Chicago may entitle you to help for your damages. Call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let one of our skilled lawyers provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation at your convenience. We are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week toll free at (855) 529-2442 and locally at (312) 924-7575. If you prefer, contact us online for help and information about your crash.

We are a dedicated firm that believes in fighting for victims’ rights. If we can help you, call us today.

Prior Blog Entry:

State Policies May Influence Injured Workers’ Low Back Treatment, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 8, 2015.


Stronger Truck Underride Guards Proposed to Cut Rear-Impact Deaths, by Jeff Plungis, Claims Journal, published December 9, 2015.

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