Safety begins when we acknowledge victims, without victims there can be no safety initiative, without victims there is no reason or need for safety. Governments and organizations that do not acknowledge victims provide zero motivation for safety efforts and do not promote a healthy safety culture. Safety must be an shared effort, we must not exclude victims voices and we must maintain a shared responsibility for safety. Responsibility for safety must lie with road users, vehicle designers,roadway designers, and law makers equally.
New crash tests and analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrate that underride guards on tractor-trailers can fail in relatively low-speed crashes confirming similar results in NHTSA's own crash tests in the early 1990s. The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) had already issued a voluntary Recommended Practice in April 1994 that included all the essential elements of the subsequent NHTSA standards except for the energy absorption requirement, the new guard standard issued by the Clinton Administration was a rubber stamp of the industry guards already on roadways, even these worthless guards were exempted from large trailers manufactured prior to January 26, 1998, single unit trucks, truck tractors, pole trailers, low chassis and special purpose vehicles, and "wheels-back" vehicles. These guards were shown to be ineffective in low speed crashes above 25 mph with catastrophic failures of the guard attachment to the truck or trailer common.
PR Newswire - UNDERRIDE GUARDS ON BIG RIGS OFTEN FAIL IN CRASHES; INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY PETITIONS GOVERNMENT FOR NEW STANDARD - Crash Tests
Truck Underride Accidents: Drivers Endangered When Cars Slide Under Trailers, Trailer Bumpers Not Good Enough, Says Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Report by ABC News
A Helpful Guide to Understanding the Rear Underride Guard Rulemaking in the U.S. - NHTSA is looking at upgrading the U.S. Rear Underride Guard Rules.
The reinforced pallet box showed clearly, that side underrun can be prevented. While the a-pillar was heavily deformed in the test with the conventional pallet box, a compatible structure was provided by the reinforced pallet box in crash tests at 65 km/h. APROSYS.
Car on left survives 65 km/h crash test with proper side guard
Reinforced pallet box side guard APROSYS
An example of truck side underride protection, it is time! APROSYS
D224 Demonstration of truck side design improvements in PDF
APROSYS - Integrated Project on Advanced Protection Systems www.aprosys.com Strategies for enhanced pedestrian and cyclist friendly design - Deliverable Report D212A/B.
Softened cone in front diverts cyclists and pedestrians.
Side and rear skirt walls
"This system works similar to the closed wheel house. Side and rear skirt walls made of energy absorbing materials will prevent the vulnerable road user to be grabbed by a vehicle passing by and reversing. The side skirt walls will cover the wheel case. The system consists of very low side guards, like KRONE Safeliner, that will reduce the risk of run over."
APROSYS D224 Demonstration of truck side design improvements in PDF
Exerpt below from NHTSA's recent study of underride crashes, we would add rear underrides seem to fall at 52% thus making underride an issue in the vast majority of serious crashes and an issue for an majority of trucking victims, we feel the most important issue and the only issue it seems without an lobby.
"The review of LTCCS cases produced evidence that front override and side underride are a significant problem in serious crashes between heavy trucks and light vehicles. Front override and side underride were found in most of the crashes examined. Preliminary estimates from this review are that override occurs in almost three-quarters of crashes in which the front of the truck is involved, and in over half of the crashes when the sides of the trucks were struck. The results here are based on only a limited sample of serious crashes for which detailed investigations were available, but they clearly indicate that the safety problem of the geometrical mismatch between light vehicles and trucks as currently configured is significant."
Exerpt from NHTSA - Heavy-Vehicle Crash Data Collection And Analysis to Characterize Rear and Side Underride and Front Override in Fatal Truck Crashes: Impact speed estimation
"Impact speeds and relative speed of trucks and light vehicles at impact were estimated for 193 light vehicles that struck the rear of a truck in fatal crashes. The mean velocity of trucks at impact was estimated at 16.3 mph, but almost 41 percent were stopped at impact and 52 percent were estimated to be going 5 mph or less (including stopped). For striking vehicles, mean speed was 59.8 mph at impact, with a range of 15 mph to 110 mph. Relative velocity is more meaningful in terms of impact however. Overall, the mean relative velocity at impact was estimated at 44.0 mph. About 32 percent of the impacts occurred at relative velocities less than 35 mph, and in 43 percent, the relative velocity was 40 mph or less. However, many impacts were at very high relative velocities, and probably not survivable. In over 25 percent of the cases, relative velocity was over 55 mph and in 13 percent it was more than 60 mph."
We clearly require an high speed standard in the U.S. of at least 50 mph to save a majority of victims. We must not accept the Canadian Standard as it is only effective in all types of crashes to about 30mph and does not save most victims and it clearly is not adequate for 30 years of technology improvement and increasing energy efficiency. We are told to extend the front of the truck to handle high velocities of both the truck and colliding vehicle but clearly high speed impacts are the majority in rear impacts also. We must also extend truck and trailer length restrictions to incorporate longer high speed guards in the front and rear of the truck.
Vision Zero - An ethical approach to safety and mobility
Safety science demands an integrated approach to safety which includes sharing blame between users and designers of the system, implementing a safety culture.
Newer underride guard designs have the possibility to protect vehicles in higher speed crashes. Governments need to begin crash testing new designs and find those capable of better speed performance and determine the distance from the front and back of trucks or trailers to extend guards for improved high speed performance. Truck size and weight length limitations will need to be adjusted to accommodate the new guards length.
U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Final Rule That Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers of Buses and Large Trucks Press Release in PDF. The final hand-held cell phone ban rule can be accessed here.
Config 2 Octagonal flourescent reflective warnings on trailer rear
NHTSA evaluated the effectiveness of the new rear impact guard safety standard in 2004.
NHTSA Grant of Petition for Rulemaking Rear impact guards Rear Impact Protection 49 CFR Part 571 Docket No. NHTSA 2014 0080
Results from VC-COMPAT Project show underride deaths can be reduced!
The analysis revealed that about 11 % of the fatally and 30 % of the seriously injured car occupants could be saved if trucks were equipped with energy absorbing front underrun protection systems (e.a. FUPS) instead of rigid FUPS, and that approximately 57 % of the fatalities and 67 % of seriously injured could be prevented from their injures due to improved rear underrun protection systems (RUPS). The report closes up with the major conclusion that improving rear underrun protection systems show a comparable reduction potential as for improving front underrun
"The size of an energy-absorbing truck front structure directly correlates to the survivable closing speed between car and truck in head-on collisions (e.g. 75 km/h survivable closing speed requires a 400 mm long energy-absorbing structure, 90 km/h, requires 800 mm)." From Volvo Report
FINAL REPORT OF HEAVY DUTY VEHICLES WORKING GROUP - PDF
Road traffic crashes kill 1.2 million people a year or an average of 3242 people every day. Road traffic crashes injure or disable between 20 million and 50 million people a year. Road traffic crashes rank as the 11th leading cause of death and account for 2.1% of all deaths globally. Most of the victims are young and classified as vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, and bicyclists). Current projections indicate fatalities will rise to 2 million per year by 2020. We are in the midst of a world crisis and vehicles designed to be crash compatible with vulnerable road users will be a critical part of the solution.
APROSYS - Integrated Project on Advanced Protection Systems www.aprosys.com Strategies for enhanced pedestrian and cyclist friendly design - Deliverable Report D212A/B.
Buses must also be compatible with cars and trucks, especially in crowded urban environments. School buses in the U.S. are infamous for their high rear overhangs and lack of seat belt protection.
MASS TRANSIT BUS-VEHICLE COMPATIBILITY EVALUATIONS DURING FRONTAL AND REAR COLLISIONS.
Quote from the Highway Safety Desk Book:
"The Washington State Department of Transportation has stated, "Millions of dollars are spent each year to make highways safer and the roadside features more forgiving to errant drivers. Why, then, do we tolerate parked or abandoned vehicles to remain along our highways for extended periods of time? We have designed standards that require a 'clear zone' on limited access highways. Nothing can be placed in this zone without providing protection to the motorist in the form of a guardrail, barrier, crash cushions, or break-away supports. Yet, we allow heavy vehicles to stand a few feet or even inches from the traveled lanes"
During the 1990's even NHTSA's own engineers were sounding the alarm bells! A new guard regulation was being promulgated for the first time in the U.S. since 1953, the reach of this regulation was limited to certain trailers only, excluding the majority single-unit trucks. Crash tests were performed only at 30 m.p.h. (48 km/h) perhaps showing the lack of confidence in their own proposal or to hide lack of performance at higher more common crash speeds. Trailer heights were not standard, real world tests were limited, and only eight tests were performed for a standard to protect tens of thousands of lives. Testimony against this standard was almost completely unanimous from politicians, safety groups, victims, and the non-industry engineering community. Crash tests had clearly shown stronger guards would be needed for real world crashes. NHTSA knew minimally compliant guards under their proposal would only be reasonably completely effective at around 25 m.p.h. (40 kp/h). Curiously, many industry guards on the roadway since the early 90's would already meet this standard? We saw the beginnings of so-called public private partnerships during this period within government agencies (See the article above for more on this topic!) The current administration has delayed studies that preclude new regulation efforts to the end of their administration. People continue dying! See the article below for an analysis of the current standards during the late 90's.
NHTSA in 1991 stated "Rear impacts involving underride, which are virtually all PCI, have the highest severe injury rate, from 25-28 percent of all injuries sustained in rear end crashes. Without doubt, the great majority of these serious injuries occur above 30 mph, especially when one acknowledges the fact that two-thirds of all rear impact closing speeds are judged to exceed 30 mph. It is not surprising that severe injury production would be inordinately high in rear impacts by passenger cars given the statistical anomaly that over 50% of combination truck rear underride crashes by passenger vehicles occurred with big rigs that were stopped on the shoulders of high speed highways." The current U.S. guard standards were acknowledged to be effective to 30 mph, a 40 mph standard was acknowledged to be feasible, but was overuled as not cost-effective due to a 40% higher cost for the stronger guards. Modern cars can withstand a 40 mph impact into a stiff wall but an impact with current U.S. underride guards above 25 mph can often be fatal.
See: Unsafe Parked Trucks
VC-COMPAT - Vehicle Crash Compatibility Project in EC 5th Framework Programme and see what can be accomplished when the public safety is placed first ahead of industry short-term economics. Presentations presented at the Final Workshop of the VC-COMPAT project, 17 and 18 October 2006 are available for download at this link:
We know how to reduce 50% of truck related fatalities. There ought to be a law!
In the U.S. the most effective means to reduce fatalities and injuries by the largest numbers is not even discussed let alone allocated research dollars.
Picture - HINO Motors Concept Truck
800 mm front crash cushion
Rounded corners to divert vehicles in crashes
Soft front protects pedestrians and cyclists
Outerframe side protection
Flat side with no sharp angles to spread energy
Covered side improves airflow and mileage
Corners protected for offset crashes
Rear energy absorbing guard
Fatalities of all types of road users vastly reduced
Krone Safeliner with outer frame side underride protection
Stronger guard due to full frame design
Protects rear corners
Softens crashes into tires
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that newer SUVs with bumpers lowered by only a half inch reduced the fatality rate in side impacts with cars by 50%. They found similar results with front underride guards on SUVs. Regulating the heights of bumpers and requiring guards on large pickups, vans, and SUVs will save many lives. Governments are long overdue to address the vehicle crash compatibility issue in at least this minimal way. Right now cars may absorb 90% of the crash energy in crashes with heavier vehicles to the detriment of their passengers. When a heavy vehicle is manufactured there is a moral obligation to have it absorb it's fair share of the excess crash energy that it's heavier weight creates!
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) FIRST RESULTS OF NEW CRASH TESTS: MOST CAR BUMPERS DON’T WORK IN LOW-SPEED CRASHES; 3 CARS SUSTAIN $4,500 DAMAGE IN 6 MPH TEST WHILE OLD FORD ESCORT SUSTAINS LITTLE DAMAGE
IIHS Press Release
In 2008, the U.S. still allows deadly guillotine guards on the backs of all single-unit trucks and many specialty trailers, including all trailers built prior to 1998. Is this 1952 safety regulation the best the U.S. government can achieve after 55 years, and why are car companies building trucks with 56 year old technology? These guards have no strength standard whatsoever, they can be 30 inches from the ground, 18 inches from the sides of the truck, and 24 inches in from the back side of the truck or trailer. The regulation states "The rear impact guard(s) must be substantially constructed and attached by means of bolts, welding, or other comparable means." Thin aluminum will do! These false guards do not prevent underride even at low speeds and cannot be considered state-of-the-art in civil litigation. They constitute false truck safety and should be removed and replaced from all vehicles before they kill thousands of additional victims.
It is clear to achieve substantial reductions in the number of severe injury and fatal crashes a FUP standard will be required in the U.S. The U.S. DOT should immediately harmonize a new U.S. FUP standard for new trucks to the current ECE Regulation No. 93 and allow length exemptions for extended underride devices. Work then must begin on a strong energy-absorbing guard standard meeting current state-of-the-art research standards.
ECE R93 The European Front Underrun Protection Device Regulation PDF Document.
The current stiff rear underride guard standards are a safety compromise that do not protect all sizes and weights of current vehicles. They ultimately are too stiff for small vehicles or are too weak for large vehicles. Only energy-absorbing guards provide protection for most sizes and weights of current vehicles and modern designs are cheap and simple to implement. Any new rear underride guard standard should be an energy-absorbing guard standard to reflect state-of-the-art research and interact properly with modern vehicle designs
The U.S. must regulate the use of bull bars or cow catchers on the front of cars and trucks. These stiff mostly cosmetic vehicle protection devices increase the aggressivity of vehicles in a crash and pose a severe risk to pedestrians and cyclists.
Europe regulates the aggressivity of these devices with Directive 2005/66/EC .
The Underride Network wishes to thank Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways for their generosity in providing underride safety related articles from the CRASH archives.
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The crash compatibility of all vehicles is a human right!
Truck Safety is a Human Rights issue.
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Mayor Walsh Wants ‘Truck Side Guards’ on All Vehicles Contracted by the City
Not good enough: Underride guards on big rigs can be lifesavers, but most leave passenger vehicle occupants at risk in certain crashes
Pedestrians stand to benefit from new vehicle technology and designs
Quick work: Better autobrake helps more models earn top ratings for front crash prevention
Honda warning system trims insurance claims
Cyclists call for truck side guards in wake of Toronto cyclist’s death - Globe and Mail
Improved Crashworthy Designs for Truck Underride Guards in PDF
Influence of a Truck Side Under-ride Guard Height on Cabin Intrusion and Occupant Injury Potential of a Small Car in Car/Large-Truck Side Crashes Abstract (Must pay for full article)
NTEC SideView Passenger Side Blind Spot Monitoring System for Heavy Goods and similar vehicles. Removes side blind spots to improve safety, here is link to presentation on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Truck Injury Lawyer Blog - Truck Underride Wrecks Preventable - New Article in TrialNews
IIHS Asks NHTSA for Stronger Underride Rule Article at Safety Research & Strategies,Inc.
An example of truck side underride protection, it is time! APROSYS D224 Demonstration of truck side design improvements in PDF
NHTSA Workshop on Vehicle Mass-Size-Safety PDF presentations available for download
YouTube - Trailer Under-Ride Safety Test 2010 - Chevrolet Malibu (IIHS) - Crash Tests
Driving Down Lane Departure Crashes in PDF - AASHTO
Summary of Large Trucks and Buses Involved in Crashes in the U.S., 2009 statistics from FMCSA - Slow economy and slower pace including safer car designs, equal less fatalities but more to be done.
FMCSA Issues Proposed Rule on Hours-of-Service Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers (12/23/10) FMCSA HOS proposed rule in PDF
NHTSA proposes New Safety Rules for School Buses - Small steps finally to improve safety for school children.
Volvo crash test center video - Why do governments refuse to perform extensive real world crash testing?
Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck Video - Why not better mirrors and front guards on all trucks?
IRTAD SPECIAL REPORT - UNDERREPORTING OF ROAD TRAFFIC CASUALTIES
Video in WMV format making the case for esafety systems in Europe
Tougher Vehicle Safety Standard To Protect Against Side-Impact Crashes
Blind-spot mirrors to be retrofitted to older lorries - The measure could save up to 1200 lives in Europe by 2020.
Unscientific Utube video - When an SUV rams a smaller car It get's the point across, remember, underride guards on pickups and SUVs increase safety by 50%.
U.S. Transportation Department lobbies for big vehicles and U.S. automakers
Sweden - VARIATION OF CRASH SEVERITY AND INJURY RISK DEPENDING ON COLLISIONS WITH DIFFERENT VEHICLE TYPES AND OBJECTS
Blind spots are a deadly flaw for most SUVs
ABC video: Lowering SUV's one half inch increases safety by 50%
Innovation and Stagnation In Automotive Safety and Fuel Efficiency Report in PDF
Rear Underrun Protection System in Commercial Vehicles - German Research (Includes pictures of failed and mangled EU Rear Guards)
ERSO Heavy Goods Vehicles Safety in the EU
Industries Get Quiet Protection From Lawsuits
Daytime Running Lights (DRL): A review of the reports from the European Commission
ECE R93 The European Front Underrun Protection Device Regulation PDF Document
DIRECTIVE 89/297/EEC - Lateral protection (side guards) of certain motor vehicles and their trailers
Canadian rear underride guard tests and recommendations in PDF format.
Penn State simulated car-truck crashes with varying guard heights
Australia - MUARC underrun guard recommendations
SAE web article - "The Battle of the Metals"
Penn State - Risk Higher for Truckers in Eleventh Hour
Byron Bloch's Underride Page
The Revised U.S. Driver's Hours-Of-Service Regulations
VC-COMPAT - Vehicle Crash Compatibility Project in EC 5th Framework Programme
UNICAMP IMPACT PROJECT - Learn the technical and societal issues involved in reducing underride crash fatalities and injuries.
Public Citizen's online campaign for safer and more efficient SUV's at www.bettersuv.org
Truck Safety Coalition's newly designed truck safety site
Bicycle safety activism and big trucks