There is new evidence to show that the “underride guards” mounted on the backs of large trucks in order to prevent cars from sliding underneath them, can save lives in crashes.
New York, NY (PRWEB) April 04, 2013
A new crash test by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has determined that most tractor-trailers that have stronger rear guards succeed in preventing underride incidents. A March 14 news release issued by the IIHS states that this is because trailer manufacturers are going above government requirements and installing stronger guards, which prevent underride accidents except in crashes occurring at the outer edge of trailers.
The release states that IIHS engineers put trailers from the eight largest manufacturers through a series of progressively tougher crash tests. All of the trailers had guards that met both U.S. and Canadian standards. Canada requires these guards to withstand twice as much force as required by the U.S. standard at the point where the guard attaches to its vertical support, the report states.
IIHS researchers found that these stronger guards were successful in preventing underrides in rear-end collisions and when half the width of the car overlapped with the trailer. However, when the overlap was reduced to 30 percent, every trailer except one, failed, the report states. IIHS recommends that although the stronger Canadian standard is a good first step, the manufacturer of the one trailer, which passed the even tougher overlap test, shows that it is possible to go much further and make these guards even safer.
There is no question that is time for the government to update its safety standards when it comes to rear underride guards, said New York truck accident lawyer Kenneth A. Wilhelm. "Truck underride crashes often result in catastrophic or fatal injuries for the occupants of the smaller passenger cars, which slip under the big-rig's trailer. These types of serious injuries or fatalities can and should be prevented with stronger rear guards."
While it is commendable that many trucking companies are taking the initiative to make these rear guards stronger, this is not the case for all trucking firms, Wilhelm says. "The current safety standard with regard to these guards is inadequate and it is crucial that this standard be changed so that the guards are required to withstand a much higher impact."
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