Rear guards have been mandatory of semi-truck trailers since 1953. Designed to prevent cars from sliding, driving or crashing under the rear of the truck trailer, The standards of these guards have not been improved since 1998. Now, the The Stop Underrides Act of 2017 seeks to update standards and make tractor trailers safer. The act would require what are now optional features to become mandatory. It would require guards to be placed on the sides of trailers along with the front of trucks. If passed, it would also strengthen rear trailer guards.
Raising the Safety Standards
An Insurance Institute of Highway Safety spokesman is quoted as saying that these types of crashes are preventable and and will saves lives. The higher standards The Stop Underrides Act of 2017 will also be more reflective of Canada’s stricter regulations. The bill would require that rear and side underride guards stop cars from sliding under a trailer at 35 mph.
Too Much Weight, Unnecessary Expense?
While the bill is receiving bipartisan support, The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association is opposing the legislation saying the panels add too much weight and are an unnecessary expense. Some concerns about the side panels also include whether they will negatively impact the structural integrity of the trailers themselves and if they mean smaller loads. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, meanwhile, says it is still reviewing the regulation. Rules would require periodic inspection of the panels.
Safer Roadways is at the Forefront of Decision
Among the politicians in favor of the legislation is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shurmer. Last December, the bill was introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The bill has also received endorsement from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Of course, few are against safer roadways, but it is always a question of “at what cost?”
As we noted in our blog from August of 2017, the debate about proposed side-impact guards centers on cost, weight, fuel mileage and capacity. The fact is that when total miles are considered, truck trailers have been proven to be reasonably safe over the years. At Wiley Metal, we manufacture these rear impact guards for some of the world’s most trusted names in truck trailer manufacturing. It is one of multiple OEM Semi/Truck Trailer parts we manufacture.
We will continue to pay attention to this legislation as it potentially moves through the House and Senate.