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NHTSA Aims to Improve Truck Rear Impact Protection

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Dec 17, 2015 in Truck Accidents

truck underride protectionThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking action to improve semi-truck rear impact protection, as stated in the notice of proposed rule-making issued Dec. 7, 2015. About 400 people lose their lives each year in accidents wherein smaller vehicles rear end larger trucks.

In crashes where smaller vehicles, such as passenger cars, collide with the rear of large semi-trucks, the front end of the smaller vehicle will become wedged into the bottom of the semi-truck. This type of accident is called a truck underride crash.

In severe truck underride crashes, the passenger compartment of the smaller vehicle may be penetrated by the truck or trailer, resulting in passenger compartment intrusion (PCI). PCI can led to devastating injuries such as traumatic brain injury, loss of limb and even death. Approximately 125 of the 400 annual deaths from truck underride accidents are due to passenger compartment intrusion.

Improving Rear Impact Protection

Currently, trailers and semi-trailers sold in the United States are equipped with rear impact bars, which hang below the rear end of the trailer. These bars are meant to prevent rear underride in truck crashes that occur at 30 miles per hour (mph).

The notice of proposed rule-making issued by the NHTSA calls for improved rear impact guards to be required on trailers and semi-trailers. Stronger bars will provide enhanced safety in the case of rear impact crashes, which will better protect passengers in accidents of up to 35 mph.

Improved rear impact guards will cost the trucking industry approximately $13 million annually, due to increased fuel and material expenses. The NHTSA states that a majority of new trailers on the market in the United States are compliant with the stricter requirements laid out in the notice of proposed rule-making.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck underride accident, the law offices of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings are experienced in handling truck accident claims. Our attorneys will fight for the MAXIMUM compensation you deserve.

Call 877.920.9009 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.