FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Final Rule on Rear Underride Guards for Trailers and Semi-Trailers
NHTSA rule fails to meet safety standards already adopted by major trucking companies and will imperil road users.
Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a final rule on safety standards for rear underride guards for trailers and semi-trailers. The result of the rulemaking process, which was initiated in 2015, is a completely inadequate standard that will make road users less safe and undermines the Biden Administration’s stated goal of working towards zero roadway deaths.
Underride crashes happen when a vehicle travels underneath the rear or side of a truck trailer, often with deadly consequences. In 2019, 531 of the 2,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving large truck crashes died when their vehicles struck the rear of a large truck. For decades Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) has been urging the adoption of comprehensive underride guard safety standards to prevent fatalities and injuries resulting from these horrific collisions.
Cathy Chase, President Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety: “Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) is deeply disappointed that nearly seven years after the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on truck rear underride guards was issued, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a rule that is substantially weaker than the current test the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been using to rate rear underride guards for the last five years, especially considering nine major trailer manufacturers meet it. Unfortunately, today’s action allows trucking companies to choose a less safe course of action at the expense of road user safety. With large truck fatalities on the rise, the Agency responsible for the safety of our nation’s roads needs to be taking action to improve, not imperil, protections for road users.”
Joan Claybrook, Former NHTSA Administrator: “This final rule on rear underride guards amounts to nothing less than regulatory malpractice. It would have been better if NHTSA had not acted at all. Instead of improving protections to reduce underride fatalities and injuries, the agency has gone backward by issuing a rule that 94 percent of trailers already meet. As such, NHTSA has lowered the bar on public safety instead of ensuring it. This is an affront to the families of underride victims who have been working so hard to have the standard updated.”
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.