Why Not Build Trucks and Trailers That Are Compatible With Cars?

Why Not Build Trucks and Trailers That Are Compatible With Cars?

The United States has not updated the rear guard standard that covers all trucks and trailers since 1953.

It is time for a world rear underride guard standard. The Underride Network recommends a minimum guard should withstand a 40 MPH or 64 KM/H impact at 50% offset from center without PCI (Passenger Compartment Intrusion) occurring in the impacting vehicle. Such a guard would be effective in most real world crashes. Effective designs have existed since 1970!

Current U.S.Regulation Guillotine Guard (named for it's ability to guillotine it's crash victims)

The United States has not updated the rear guard standard to cover all trucks and trailers since 1953.

The current European standard was enacted in 1979.

The U.S. and Europe should lead the rest of the world by quickly enacting new rear guard regulations to meet or exceed the recommended minimum effectiveness proposed by the Underride Network. It is time to stop the massive and unnecessary yearly tally of fatalities. Our modern cars must pass a 40 MPH and 40% offset frontal barrier crash test to be deemed safe vehicles, why not build our trucks and trailers to be compatible with cars?

On the new American rear underride guard standard

The American government admitted in their comments for the new American guard standard that a minimally compliant guard should protect all passenger vehicles from PCI and excessive deceleration forces up to some speed in the 40 kph (25 mph) to 56 kph (35 mph) range, although that speed will vary on a sliding scale depending on the vehicle weight and front end profile. For example, NHTSA analytically estimates that mid and full size cars and light trucks and vans with a mass greater than 1590 kg (3,500 lbs) will experience PCI at approximately 43 kph (27 mph), while mini-compacts of less than 1135 kg (2,500 lbs) will be able to collide with the required guard at about 61 kph (38 mph) without PCI. NHTSA claimed in 1991 that 2/3 of all rear impact closing speeds are judged to exceed 30 mph. When they were writing this standard they envisioned Americans would be driving sub-compact cars in the future to save gasoline. They were lowering the maximum speed limits to 55 mph.  Now, a majority of American cars are heavier vehicles, over half of all new cars sold are heavy SUV's, vans, or pickup trucks. American freeways have faster speed limits from 55 to 70 mph, the mid-level roadways have speed limits from 35 to 55 mph, only the city residential streets have speed limits below 30 mph ranging from 25 mph to 30 mph. Thus, the new guard standard will only be useful for a majority of vehicles on city streets. It should have been named "the city only guard" or "the protect only the politicians guard" as our politicians tend to live in and travel by road only within big cities! They are very smart, if they leave the city they travel by plane! They designed this regulation to be effective only on the roadways that do not have a large number of  fatal rear underride crashes! (Approximately 6% of total truck crash fatalities, including pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.)

Side underride guards provide life saving protection for passengers of smaller vehicles, all trucks and trailers should include this critical safety equipment.


European side guards - Too weak, better than nothing
( Photos by Quentin Lewton, Truck Safety Consultant)


Due to concerns with design incompatibilities between vans, pickups, and sport utility vehicles with cars, NHTSA will take a close look at LTV's.

Ford introduces front and rear underride protection in new Excursion 2000 SUV.


The State University of Campinas (UNICAMP),  a world renowned research university  located in Brazil has been conducting extensive research of rear underride crashes through the Impact Project. They have now launched an English version web site outlining the engineering and societal changes that will be necessary to solve this world wide tragedy. Please visit this extraordinary site located at www.fem.unicamp.br/~impact/

(Hundreds of thousands of U.S. illegal parking victims were not represented, not identified as stakeholders, not invited, and worst of all, not even mentioned in the summary report! FHWA even questioned local parking laws to protect motorists from unsafe truck parking, ignored safety training of truckers to obey parking laws as a solution to stop the mass killings and injuries!)

U.S. DOT  - "Innovative Traffic Control Technology and Practice in Europe" (Large PDF File, Right Click to download)

(Ignores U.S. Counties providing truck parking on designated streets, does not disclose deliberate exclusion of participation of the Underride Network and illegal truck parking victims, falsely claims a shortage of parking spaces in the U.S., falsely ties illegal truck parking to fatigue which will increase fatalities and has been proven to be false, and insults illegal truck parking victims (car and truck drivers) by excusing deliberate violation of Federal Safety Laws pertaining to truck parking (An activity which is five times more likely to result in a fatality than a moving accident) by claiming this deliberate illegal activity is caused by lack of long term parking in State rest areas rather than deliberate violation of law and disregard for human life!)

Special Note: The Underride Network has formally requested during the past year that the FMCSA collect U.S. truck parking injury and fatality statistics and institute a national safe parking campaign to fight this killer on our highways that may account for half of all rear of truck and trailer fatalities. Responses from high level officials were often insulting! The NTSB and other safety groups have also ignored requests to give attention to this critical safety issue!
rear guard for trucks & trailers

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That under-ride guard is set at 22' from the ground to the bottom of the bumper by the Federal Government. But there are a lot of pickup trucks you can drive off the lot with bumpers higher than that. You are two times more likely to die from a post collision vehicle fire to a pickup truck (because the bullet vehicle underrode the bumper and hit the gas tank) than backing over someone with it (yet we have back up sensors) - so how about an under-ride guard for pickup trucks like these energy absorbing ones from sparebumper.com...

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