The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recently proposed that trailer underride guards should be strong enough to protect passengers when a vehicle rear-ends a tractor-trailer at speeds of up to 35mph. It’s a bit of a mouthful to say aloud, but it’s less complicated than it sounds. Let’s break it down.

What are underride guards?

Underride guards are required on trailers that are towed by tractor engines. They consist of a square metal frame that descends from the frame of the trailer. The guards are designed to prevent passenger vehicles from getting wedged under the large trailers, which can be fatal in the event of an accident.

The proposal would bring U.S. safety policies for underride guards into alignment with current Canadian safety requirements. According to Claims Journal, the NHTSA estimates that, “there are about 400 deaths from cars hitting the backs of trucks each year, with about 125 of them resulting from severe damage from objects intruding into in the passenger compartments.”

It is estimated that as much as 93% of late model trailers already meet the more stringent requirements outlined in the proposals. Older models would be retrofitted at minimal cost. The new measure hopes to reduce the rate of serious injury or death during a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer.

The results are in

Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the NHTSA, said, “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. We’re always looking at ways to safeguard the motoring public, and today’s announcement moves us forward in our mission.”

The proposal is definitely a step forward for safety, but new measures that affect the future don’t adequately address the lives that have already been affected. Rear-end collisions with tractor-trailers change lives. When they aren’t fatal, they cause serious injuries that can require a lifetime of care.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and lost work. The experienced Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville truck accident attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.