Improving the Standards for Underride Guards can Prevent Injuries and Fatalities in Trucking Accidents

Improving the Standards for Underride Guards can Prevent Injuries and Fatalities in Trucking AccidentsWhen you are driving on the highway either beside or behind a large, commercial truck, you are reminded of just how massive those rolling machines are compared to your seemingly small, passenger vehicle. That vast difference in size and scale means that some passenger cars are low enough that the front end can slip up under the back end of a large truck in the event of a crash and collapse the passenger compartment of the automobile. Underride guards are steel rails that are installed on the rear end of large trucks which are designed to keep the front end of passenger vehicles from sliding under the truck’s rear end or side causing serious injury to the vehicle’s passengers.

Unfortunately, the current underride guard standards that are in place in the United States are insufficient and do not provide enough protection for passenger vehicles that crash into the back end of large trucks when the passenger vehicle is traveling at speeds greater than 30 mph. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed an ANPRM (advanced notice of proposed rulemaking) for Underride Protection of Single Unit Trucks. According to, 73 comments have been submitted so far while the ANPRM is still in the pre-rule stage.

This rulemaking would consider requirements for rear impact guards and other safety strategies on single unit trucks to mitigate underride crashes into the rear of single unit trucks. The new rule represents an upgrade to the U.S. standards for truck and trailer underride crash protection. The change would also include adding reflective tape to the sides of large, commercial trucks, which would help make them more visible on the road.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has done extensive research and crash tests that proved the unreliability of the U.S. standard for underride guards when a large truck is rear-ended by a passenger vehicle traveling faster than 30 mph. The IIHS crash tests have helped to lay the ground work that illustrated the need for upgraded U.S. safety standards.

In North Carolina, Aaron Kiefer, a forensic engineer and crash reconstructionist, has designed a truck underride guard that provides protection on the rear of the truck and the side of the truck. In Aaron’s design, the side impact protection is capable of redirecting passenger vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists from sliding underneath a truck in an accident. Kiefer is now in a fundraising drive to raise $20,000 to conduct a crash test.

Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries especially when they involve failed underride guards. The experienced truck accident attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, know how to protect our clients’ rights to compensation when they have been injured in a truck accident. You are welcome to call us at 803-327-7800 or to contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our injury attorneys today. Visit our offices in Anderson, Columbia, Rock Hill, Sumter, or Georgetown, or contact us today for a free consultation. We serve all of South Carolina.