The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt more stringent regulations for underride guards on large trucks and semis. Underride - where a smaller vehicle runs underneath a truck - is a significant danger in nearly all collisions involving larger trucks, and the IIHS is asking the NHTSA to act to help prevent underride.
Underride guards are regulated by two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, published in 1996, which specify equipment strength requirements, compliance procedures, mounting instructions, and location specifications. Some trucks may not even have to comply with these regulations, as exemptions exist. The IIHS urges more stringent standards because even complaint trucks don't adequately prevent underride for some vehicles, and don't adequately prevent side underride. Underride guards that are currently compliant can fail even in collisions at relatively low (30 mph) speeds.
The IIHS urges that the NHTSA adopts regulations that keep pace with the changes in passenger vehicles and that adequately protect against the dangers of underride.