National Attention Is Back on Underride Guards

The issue of underride guards has been a longstanding one, and the Stop Underrides Act of 2017 is one of the most recent attempts to solve the driving hazard. The act would not only increase the rigor the standards that rear underride guards must meet. It would also require front and side underride guards. But the act hasn’t passed yet. It was introduced in December of 2017 and faces a lengthy scrutiny by the House and the Senate. With the end of the ELD extension coming up soon, the combined attention on both safety measures could make the act go either way.

Where does everyone agree on the act?

Almost everyone agrees that there need to be safety measures to prevent underride accidents. These accidents are particularly devastating because most passenger cars are much lower to the ground than trailers. That means, in the event of a collision, the impact of the crash doesn’t go into the passenger vehicles structurally reinforced frame. Instead, the trailer and the car collide at the windows around the passenger compartment where it can least deal with the stress. That makes underride collisions particularly deadly, no matter who is at fault.

This danger is why rear underride guards were mandated previously. Not only were collisions relatively common, they were immediately catastrophic. However, the regulations regarding the structural integrity and the maintenance of the rear guards was a bit flimsy, and making them stronger is one of the two main points of the act.

Where is there disagreement?

The act would also require front and side underride guards. While they reduce fatalities, they also add extra weight that could negatively impact the structural integrity of the trailer itself. With panels weighing approximately 800 pounds each and the reinforcements adding even more weight to the occasion, many in the industry are arguing that this measure will introduce new safety hazards. There are also arguments that the added weight will reduce load capacity and that side guards reduce maneuverability in crowded docks; the side guards are more likely to break and require expensive repairs.

No matter what the final decision is, staying up-to-date on regulatory news and changes in the industry is essential. We provide commercial truck insurance in the states of Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Go to J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC. to stay informed.

David Ott

David Ott