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Old 03-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default IIHS Calls for Better Underride Guards on Large Trucks



Study shows many truck safety guards are not strong enough to prevent cars from sliding underneath

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on the federal government to increase standards for semi-truck trailers to prevent passenger cars from sliding underneath in rear-end collisions.
The institute filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require better rear guards on truck trailers to reduce deaths in such accidents.


“Cars’ front-end structures are designed to manage a tremendous amount of crash energy in a way that minimizes injuries for their occupants,” institute President Adrian Lund said. “Hitting the back of a large truck is a game changer. You might be riding in a vehicle that earns top marks in frontal crash tests, but if the truck’s underride guard fails — or isn’t there at all — your chances of walking away from even a relatively low-speed crash aren’t good.”

NHTSA estimates that 423 people die each year in passenger vehicles that strike the back of large trucks.

The IIHS tested a Chevrolet Malibu – an IIHS Top Safety Pick – in crashes with trailers from three manufacturers, Wabash, Hyundai and Vanguard. It found that in 35 mph crashes where the car struck a parked trailer squarely, crashes with the Hyundai and Vanguard trailers would likely be fatal, with serious intrusions in the passenger compartment, but the car that crashed into the Wabash trailer did better.




The Malibu fared best when it was crashed into the Wabash trailer, above, as compared to the Hyundai and Vanguard trailers.

The key is the underride guards on the trailers. The Wabash trailer was certified to the more stringent Canadian regulation for underride guards.
“It’s clear to our engineers that Wabash understands how underride guards and trailers work together as a unit instead of treating them as separate components,” Lund says. “Strong attachments kept the Wabash guard in place so it could engage the Malibu, allowing the car’s structure to absorb and manage the crash energy. In the real world, this would be a survivable crash.”

After the Wabash’s good performance in the full-width test, engineers had high hopes for the offset tests where the car struck the trailer on the corner. The outcome for the Wabash was different when the overlap was reduced to 30 percent. The struck end of the guard again bent forward, and this time there was severe underride.

This test shows that even the strongest guard left as much as half of the rear of the trailer vulnerable to severe underride. The guard only worked as intended when the striking car engaged the center.

“Under current certification standards, the trailer, underride guard, bolts, and welding don’t have to be tested as a whole system,” Lund points out. “That’s a big part of the problem. Some manufacturers do test guards on the trailer. We think all guards should be evaluated this way. At the least, all rear guards should be as strong as the best one we tested.”

Another problem is that regulatory gaps allow many heavy trucks to forgo guards altogether. When they are present on exempt trucks, guards don’t have to meet 1996 rules for strength or energy absorption.

“Underride standards haven’t kept pace with improvements in passenger vehicle crashworthiness,” Lund said. “Absent regulation, there’s little incentive for manufacturers to improve underride countermeasures, so we hope NHTSA will move quickly on our petition.”

Predecessors of the NHTSA have had underride guard regulations since 1953, but they’ve never been required to be tested as a complete system. IIHS hopes to change that with its petition.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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Maybe if the truck guards are made of depleted uranium and our cars weigh the same as a small Jovian moon, no one will die. Ever. We'll all live forever! Man will be immortal!
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mbs627 View Post
Maybe if the truck guards are made of depleted uranium and our cars weigh the same as a small Jovian moon, no one will die. Ever. We'll all live forever! Man will be immortal!
EPIC!
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:10 PM   #4
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NHTSA estimates that 423 stupidpeople die each year in passenger vehicles that strike the back of large trucks.

fixed it for the gov't
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
NHTSA estimates that 423 stupidpeople die each year in passenger vehicles that strike the back of large trucks.

fixed it for the gov't
Uh, right. Where's that guy from general who was pushed under a trailer by another big rig?..
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:54 PM   #6
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While they are at it, how hard would it be to mandate that semi-trucks as well as passenger trucks require mud-flaps on all tires that go a minimum distance (say at least 3/4 of the way) down between the bumper and the ground level? How many times have you gotten a windshield chip or a rock-chip on your hood from flying debris off a truck?

Sorry about that mini-rant. Just came from a windshield claim ($250.00) because a logging truck flicked a boulder (ok, it was a marble sized rock) onto my windshield and of course it was directly in my line of vision so I had to get it replaced.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
NHTSA estimates that 423 stupidpeople die each year in passenger vehicles that strike the back of large trucks.

fixed it for the gov't
herp derp derp bag bag bag of herp derp derp derp derp.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #8
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What's wrong with trying to make the backs of trucks a little safer?

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2143742

Granted my incident was very minor, but after reading that report, makes me wonder wtf could have happened had I hit that a little differently.

Last edited by Angelus911; 03-03-2011 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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much like i do some other parts of traffic law, i appreciate this kind of thing because of all the accidents you get into that AREN'T your fault. like was mentioned, you getting rear ended into the truck, them cutting you off and road conditions causing accidents...not that common i know, but what harm does adding a reinforced metal bar cause to a trailer?
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
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ok, not to be callous.....but only 423 deaths? out of 300 million people?

Come on, there HAS to be another issue to spend time/money on that affects us more than this.....

We can't death-proof EVERYTHING
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stonebaru View Post
ok, not to be callous.....but only 423 deaths? out of 300 million people?

Come on, there HAS to be another issue to spend time/money on that affects us more than this.....

We can't death-proof EVERYTHING
That's about the same feeling I have. 423 deaths a year is fairly minor. Yes, freak accidents happen where one vehicle pushes another one under a truck. But considering that fully loaded tractor trailers probably have 5 times the stopping distance of a passenger car, you really have to not be paying attention to traffic to rear-end a semi-truck, except for one-in-a-million type scenarios.

Plus, it's going to be really difficult to design a bumper to hang under trucks that will stop a car from sliding underneath the truck at all impact angles. I know everyone hates the idea of cost-benefit analysis when it comes to human lives, but I hope they really consider this one carefully before rushing into new regulations that either don't do any good, or end up killing more people than just leaving the status quo alone.

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Originally Posted by MrSaabaru View Post
much like i do some other parts of traffic law, i appreciate this kind of thing because of all the accidents you get into that AREN'T your fault. like was mentioned, you getting rear ended into the truck, them cutting you off and road conditions causing accidents...not that common i know, but what harm does adding a reinforced metal bar cause to a trailer?
Not much harm, if that's all it takes. But don't forget that trailers already have a reinforced metal bar under them that apparently doesn't work all that well. So they're obviously going to have to re-think how strong and wide the bar has to be. And if they want it to withstand offset impacts, it's probably going to have to wrap around to the sides of the truck as well as just covering the back. Plus, since there's no standardization on bumper heights for cars, it's probably going to need to be at least a double-bar and will probably end up resembling the "NASCAR bars" that go on roll cage doors. Something like that isn't going to be cheap to fabricate, and will definitely screw up the airflow under the trailer, reducing fuel economy and making the carbon-nazis lose their minds.

Last edited by Chuck H; 03-03-2011 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:02 PM   #12
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^^^exactly, if you are doing it right, you should never be close enough to a truck to go under it. The only instance is getting plowed from behind, but if you cut between to semis, it's your head.

My guess is most of these deaths are hypermilers.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
NHTSA estimates that 423 stupidpeople die each year in passenger vehicles that strike the back of large trucks.

fixed it for the gov't
Ouch!! That's just a tad over the edge don't you think? What if you lose control in the rain or slippery condition? Or, get out of the way of another collision and smash into the back of a semi? Accidents happen, no matter how great a driver you may think you are.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
Not much harm, if that's all it takes. But don't forget that trailers already have a reinforced metal bar under them that apparently doesn't work all that well. So they're obviously going to have to re-think how strong and wide the bar has to be. And if they want it to withstand offset impacts, it's probably going to have to wrap around to the sides of the truck as well as just covering the back. Plus, since there's no standardization on bumper heights for cars, it's probably going to need to be at least a double-bar and will probably end up resembling the "NASCAR bars" that go on roll cage doors. Something like that isn't going to be cheap to fabricate, and will definitely screw up the airflow under the trailer, reducing fuel economy and making the carbon-nazis lose their minds.
Maybe not cheap, but with all the stuff in that other thread about experimental air flow management and it's benefits for gas mileage, I would bet there's a way to do both at the same time. i'm no expert, but it seems like they could come up with some system that grandfathers in older trailers, but requires newer ones to have some system. a lot of the ones i've seen had lower fairings or other addons. if that's the way things are going, having them reinforced better might be a good way to kill two birds.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Scooby-Doode View Post
Ouch!! That's just a tad over the edge don't you think? What if you lose control in the rain or slippery condition? Or, get out of the way of another collision and smash into the back of a semi? Accidents happen, no matter how great a driver you may think you are.
Any decent car can out brake a semi. And avoiding a fluffy camry to head for that freightliner is not an accident, it's a bad decision.

Tractor Trailers provide a needed service, and have great difficulties in maneuverability and vision. Car drivers need to give room and not drive like idiots around them. Too many times I see people change lanes in stopping traffic in front of a truck, and it sickens me. Then there are the people who tailgate them.

I understand that there are accidents, and not everything is predictable. But I contest that %80-90 of accidents involving cars and tractor trailers are instigated by the car putting the truck in a compromised position.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:40 PM   #16
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I'd take my chances getting pushed under a trailer by another semi rather than simply getting ****ing pancaked between them. How good will your crumple zones work when you basically get ass rammed into an 80,000lb truck by another 80,000lb truck driven by a guy zipped out on a big gulp full of 5-hour energy drink mixed with Sudafed. At least you'd have a chance if you went underneath it - especially if you're a midget.
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