The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized a rule that updates two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards related to underride crashes.
Rear underride crashes, which are often deadly, occur when the front end of a vehicle crashes into the back of a larger vehicle, such as a large trailer or semi-trailer, and slides under that vehicle.
“This rule, along with increased research and the creation of an advisory committee on underride protection, is the result of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is a key part of USDOT’s 2022 National Roadway Safety Strategy,” according to an NHTSA news release.
ATA successfully fought to keep a side underride guard mandate out of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and instead, supported research efforts in addressing the concerns raised by industry as well as the Government Accountability Office 2019 report on side underride guards.
As a result, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also directs the DOT to conduct additional research into the feasibility of side underride guards as well as fulfill additional requirements such as establishing a committee on underride protection. NHTSA has not yet announced how they will proceed with these tasks. NTHSA’s regulatory agenda lists an ANPRM associated with side underride protection with a timetable of July 2022, but does not necessarily mean we will see activity on this in July.
Stay tuned for more information, when details about the steps NHTSA will take on side underride guards become available.