Virginia Conference Considers Underride Bar Crashes
The issue of underride bars on big rigs has been a concern of safety groups for years.
The problem relates to structural weaknesses of the steel bars on the backs of tractor-trailers which means they often fail when vehicles crash into them and allow smaller vehicles to slide under trucks, with devastating consequences for the drivers.
Recently, a conference was held in Virginia to look at this problem and how the safety regime can be improved.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety held a roundtable in Virginia in May to look into this serious issue.
Almost 90 safety advocates researchers, policymakers and representatives from the trucking industry convened at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center to tackle the problem of big rig underride crashes.
The aim of the conference was for the experts to examine the scale of the problem and brainstorm ways to cut down the risks through both voluntary actions and regulation.
Topics discussed included:
- More effective underride guard designs;
- More conspicuous safety features;
- Better enforcement of existing laws;
- Adoption of crash avoidance systems.
Upgraded Underride Bars Rules Are Pending
The conference also looked at how cyclists and pedestrians may be injured inside underride crashes, a problem that’s more likely to occur in urban areas.
The roundtable heard how an upgraded standard for rear underride guards is pending with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Regulators are also considering a requirement for rear guards on single-unit trucks like delivery trucks and garbage trucks.
People who lost loved ones in truck underride crashes also addressed the event. They included Marianne Karth, who lost her teenage daughters AnnaLeah and Mary in an underride crash six years ago.
Underride crashes are very tragic and unnecessary. It saddens me that it is taking regulators so long to make improvements to trucks to rectify a simple problem.