REAL WORLD ENGINEERING for safer roads: seeking designs for improved truck underride prevention structures.

From the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) facebook page:

“REAL WORLD ENGINEERING: Marianne Karth’s goal is to prevent more deaths from truck-related crashes like the one that claimed the lives of two of her daughters. She is seeking designs for improved heavy vehicle underride prevention structures.”

Rebekah photo of crash

Designs sought for improved heavy vehicle underride prevention structures.

WARRENDALE, Pa., July 8, 2015

Current truck underride regulations too often do not prevent underride crashes—which led to 2401 fatalities in 2013. “In a detailed study of 115 rear truck crashes (not all fatal, and including all large truck types, not just tractor trailers), we found that 46 percent involved underride that extended beyond the bottom of the windshield (i.e., the truck intruded into the passenger compartment). When restricting to the 28 crashes that were fatalities, this rises to 82 percent.” (Matthew Brumbelow based on his research: Evaluation of US Rear Underride Guard Regulation for Large Trucks Using Real-World Crashes, )

Engineering students and professionals will take on the challenge of creating an underride prevention system that will surpass the current U.S. and Canadian standards. Key design interests include offset impact, misaligned vehicle paths, and occupant survivability. Design is based upon a light passenger vehicle and dry van semitrailer interaction.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223 and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) No. 223 describe the energy absorbing and mechanical deflection required for semi-trailers rear underride structures. NHTSA has initiated rulemaking for FMVSS No. 224 and No. 223. In the interest of this rulemaking, noteworthy designs will be presented to the NHTSA Deputy Administrator.

The objective is to attain underride prevention up to 50 mph at any degree of offset. The designs must be demonstrated to be practical in the context of the trucking environment. The hoped-for outcome is saved lives.

For more information about the underride issues go to:

Papers should be submitted no later than May 1, 2016 (but will be reviewed as soon as received for the maximum impact) and sent to:

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