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US Adopts New Truck Bumpers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has adopted a rule imposing new truck rear underride guard standards.

The standard was first proposed by NHTSA in 2015 and it embodies requirements similar to those that have been enforced in Canada for many years.

“Adopting these standards will require rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 35 mph,” NHTSA declared.

The agency said the upgraded protection will be help in crashes in which the passenger motor vehicle hits the center of the rear of the trailer or semi-trailer; and in which 50% of the width of the passenger motor vehicle overlaps the rear of the trailer or semi-trailer.

NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff, said, “This new rule will improve protection for passengers and drivers of passenger vehicles while also meeting a critical mandate from Congress under the bipartisan infrastructure law.”

Adopting these standards will require rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 56 kilometers per hour (35 mph).

In 2019, 531 of the 2,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks died when their vehicles struck the rear of a Class 8 truck.

Safety advocates also want to see side underride protection mandated. David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said the NHTSA standard “is a completely inadequate standard that will make road users less safe and undermines the Biden administration’s stated goal of working toward zero roadway deaths.”

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