Personal Injury Lawyers Jonesboro, Arkansas

What Are the NHTSA’s New Underride Guard Rules?

Huge semi-truck in the evening glow.

When a tractor-trailer and car collide, the results are typically tragic for the people inside the smaller vehicle. Sometimes when a car crashes into a semi-truck, the vehicle can slide under the truck’s trailer, causing an underride accident—one of the most devastating types of truck accidents.

In an underride accident, the trailer can breach the inside of the passenger vehicle, and the top of the car can be completely sheared off. To prevent this from happening and protect drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a new rule focused on underride guards.

Underride guards can help prevent fatal truck accidents

According to Truckinginfo.com, the NHTSA updated two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in June, including:

  • Requirement of rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect drivers and passengers of compact and subcompact cars that may crash into the rear of tractor-trailers at 35 mph.
  • Requirement of updated protection where a passenger vehicle crashes into the center or rear of a trailer and when 50 percent of the width of the passenger car overlaps the rear of the tractor-trailer.

Before the new rule was even presented, many trailer manufacturers took it upon themselves to improve their underride guards.

For instance, in 2018, eight major trailer manufacturers were awarded top underride guard ratings from the Insurance Institute Highway Safety. To be considered for this award, the trailer’s rear guards must pass three test modes where a midsize car travels into the back of a parked semi at 35 mph: full width, 50 percent overlap, and 30 percent overlap.

Additional provisions

Last year the federal government began requiring annual inspections of underride guards. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations now include rear impact guards in the list of items that must be examined for a commercial motor vehicle’s annual inspection. The NHTSA will also be implementing other underride provisions, such as:

  • Creating a federal advisory committee to complete research on side underride guards for trailers and semis. They will assess benefits, costs, and other aspects of underride protection.
  • Preparing and planning to publish a notice in advance of proposed rules and requirements for side underride guards.
  • Improving data collection, including state crash data, and providing educational materials to law enforcement on identifying and recording underride crashes.
  • Research the best rear-impact guard designs with the utmost protection.

“NHTSA’s priority is the safety of everyone on our roads. This new rule will improve protection for passengers and drivers of passenger vehicles while also meeting a critical mandate from Congress,” NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff said in a statement.

Contact an Arkansas truck accident attorney today.

Truck underride accidents are usually horrifying and catastrophic. Any time a vehicle collides with a tractor trailer’s rear or side, it can go completely under the truck and crush the vehicle, killing or severely injuring the occupants inside.

Tragically, underride accidents are often the result of negligence by truckers and trucking companies. Victims have recourse through the civil justice system, and an experienced truck accident attorney can guide them through the process.

Don’t try to take on the other side’s attorneys by yourself. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, contact the McDaniel Law Firm, PLC today for a free consultation. Our lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience helping truck accident victims and their families obtain the financial compensation they need and deserve.

Our truck accident attorneys offer legal representation to clients throughout Northeast Arkansas (including Jonesboro, Paragould, Craighead County, Lawrence County, Greene County, Mississippi County, Poinsett County), Northwest Arkansas (including Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Rogers), all of Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee.

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