Proposed trailer, semitrailer rule to increase underride protection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, unveiled a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) Monday about underride protection for drivers of trailers and semitrailers.

The proposed rulemaking would modify the current federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMCSSs), particularly for the underride protection that is needed for light-vehicle crashes that collide with the rear of trailers and semitrailers.

The majority of semitrailers and trailers have rear impact guard bars attached to the rear of their trailers, stopping underride crashes from happening. Now the NHTSA wants to see mandatory rear impact guards that will offer even more protection.

“A key component of DOT’s safety mission is ensuring that trucking, an essential element in our transportation system, operates not just efficiently, but safely,” Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation secretary, said. “Today’s proposal is another important step in that effort.”

The NHTSA released another NPRM earlier this year concerning rear underride crash protection as well as the related single unit trucks and visibility conspicuity.

“Robust trailer rear impact guards can significantly reduce the risk of death or injury to vehicle occupants in the event of a crash into the rear of a trailer or semitrailer,” Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator, said. “We’re always looking at ways to safeguard the motoring public, and today’s announcement moves us forward in our mission.”

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