Proposed Rule Would Require Stronger Rear Impact Guards

Technology continues to advance to make car travel increasingly safer for all those on the road. Airbag and collision technology can help protect car passengers from a variety of injuries in many accident situations. One type of accident that remains incredibly dangerous, however, is the underride crash. In these crashes, the front of a passenger car collides with the rear of a larger vehicle, such as a commercial truck. The car is pushed underneath the body and chassis of the truck, and severe injuries often result. Commercial trucks are required to have rear impact guards in an attempt to prevent this type of crash, but underride accidents still happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently proposed a new rule to expand underride protection to decrease the instances of this type of dangerous crash.

Why Are Underride Crashes So Dangerous?

Underride crashes leave car passengers vulnerable to severe head and neck injuries. When a car is pushed under a large truck, the advanced safety features are bypassed. Airbags and seat belts cannot help in these situations, as the roof of the car is crushed. This leaves passengers vulnerable to serious, severe injuries and even death.

The new rule proposed by the NHTSA was prompted in part by a petition from the Truck Safety Coalition and Marianne Karth. Karth’s daughters AnnaLeah and Mary were killed in 2013 when the car they were traveling in was involved in a highway collision and pushed under a semi-truck.

Research Indicates Stronger Guards Could Save More Lives

Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests has supported the request that today’s rear impact guards be made stronger. The IIHS data indicates that weaker guards, even if they meet the current U.S. standard, would not hold up in a crash at 35 mph and would result in severe injuries to car passengers. Stronger guards, which are already required in Canada, held in place and more effectively prevented the passenger car from riding under the truck.

The NHTSA offered a notice of proposed rulemaking to make the rear guards more robust. The notice states that among “survivable” frontal crashes involving newer vehicle models in which occupants were wearing seatbelts, underrides into trucks was the second highest cause of fatalities.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may have a right to file a claim. Call the experienced truck accident team at Tapella and Eberspacher Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation today at (217) 394-5885.