Safer Rear-Impact Guards for Semi-Trailers Proposed by Feds | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
March 25, 2016

This month, proposals to require stronger rear impact guards on trailers and semi-trailers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are being publicly reviewed before they can be made official regulations. After the comment period passes, rear-impact guards on trucks will likely be required to withstand a 35-mile-per-hour impact by a standard motor vehicle. This increases the current federal standards which require the rear-impact guards on trucks to withstand at least a 30-mile-per-hour impact.

Overall, the proposal has been well-received by safety organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which originally proposed the increase, and the trucking industry as a whole. Most trucks already meet these standards, especially since Canadian regulations already require these safety precautions. Most parties agree any measure that would improve the odds that drivers and their passengers survive if their car rear-ends a semi-trailer truck is a good thing.

Why Are Safer Rear-Impact Guards for Semi-Trailers Necessary?

Rear-impact guards are a vital precaution against cars “underriding” large trailers and semi-trailers in the event a car rear-ends a truck. Because the front of cars are usually shorter than the height where the actual trailer begins, the car can partially slip underneath the trailer during an accident. The rear-impact guard hangs down to keep the car behind, not underneath the truck, thus preventing a grisly accident. When a car underrides the trailer, the top of the car can be ripped off and occupants of the vehicle are often killed by decapitation or otherwise seriously injured.

Ever since 2001 tests demonstrated the ineffectiveness of many of the currently approved guards, the IIHS has been lobbying the NHTSA to raise their standards. Tests done by IIHS in 2014 with rear-impact guards demonstrated that these devices have dramatically improved over the past decade, but the new standards proposed by the NHTSA will further decrease the likelihood of such terrible accidents. According to the NHTSA, 400 people die each year from crashing into the back of a semi-truck, but the administration hopes that this number will continue to decrease.

Unfortunately, even when rear-impact guards prevent accidents, crashes with semi-trailers can be difficult to recover from, especially if the other driver is at fault. If you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, an experienced Ohio accident attorney can help you deal with the other driver and the insurance companies to get the compensation you need to recover. Call the dedicated Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW today to find out how we may be able to help you get back on your feet.