Underride Rulemaking: Will we get it right this time?!

Now this makes me mad!  I just found an IIHS Status Report from March 29, 1977:  http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr1206.pdf

March 1977 IIHS Status Report on Underride Problem

IIHS was reporting on a meeting that took place on March 16, 1977 — three days before I got married! That’s almost 39 years ago — long before any of my 9 children were born, let alone my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary!

The government and industry apparently didn’t get underride rulemaking right then! And they clearly hadn’t gotten it right by May 4, 2013 — when Mary and AnnaLeah died from truck underride! But they better watch out, because I am not going to sit by and watch while thousands more die for no good reason!

See the testimony in May 2009 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in which they call for tougher underride guard standards and with an attachment of the history of federal rulemaking on underride guards (pasted below): http://tinyurl.com/phlaqon

“The history of Federal rulemaking on truck underride guards:

  • 1953 Interstate Commerce Commission adopts rule requiring rear underride guards on trucks and trailers but sets no strength requirements.
  • 1967 National Highway Safety Bureau (NHSB), predecessor to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), indicates it will develop a standard for truck underride guards.
  • 1969 NHSB indicates it will conduct research on heavy vehicle underride guard configurations to provide data for the preparation of a standard. In the same year the Federal Highway Administration publishes a proposal to require trailers and trucks to have strong rear-end structures extending to within 18 inches of the road surface.
  • 1970 NHSB says it would be “impracticable” for manufacturers to engineer improved underride protectors into new vehicles before 1972. The agency considers an effective date of January 1, 1974 for requiring underride guards with energy-absorbing features as opposed to rigid barriers.
  • 1971 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that NHTSA require energy-absorbing underride and override barriers on trucks, buses, and trailers. Later in the same year NHTSA abandons its underride rulemaking, saying it has “no control over the vehicles after they are sold” and “it can only be assumed that certain operators will remove the underride guard.” The Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety (BMCS), predecessor to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, considers a regulatory change that would prohibit alteration of manufacturer-installed equipment. This would nullify the major reason NHTSA cited for abandoning the proposed underride standard.
  • 1972 NTSB urges NHTSA to renew the abandoned underride proposal.
  • 1974 US Secretary of Transportation says deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial.
  • 1977 IIHS testifies before the Consumer Subcommittee of the US Senate Commerce Committee, noting that devices to stop underride have been technologically available for years. IIHS tests demonstrate that a crash at less than 30 mph of a subcompact car into a guard meeting current requirements results in severe underride. IIHS also demonstrates the feasibility of effective underride guards that do not add significant weight to trucks. IIHS petitions NHTSA to initiate rulemaking to establish a rear underride standard. The agency agrees to reassess the need for such a standard and later in the year announces plans to require more effective rear underride protection. BMCS publishes a new but weak proposal regarding underride protection.
  • 1981 NHTSA issues a proposal to require upgraded underride protection.
  • 1986 IIHS study reveals that rear guards designed to prevent cars from underriding trucks appear to be working well on British rigs.
  • 1987 European underride standard is shown to reduce deaths caused by underride crashes.
  • 1996 NHTSA finally issues a new standard, effective 1998.”

IIHS, 2009

I also found this underride research article tonight from 1998:  http://papers.sae.org/982755/

Mariolani, J., Schmutzler, L., Arruda, A., Occhipinti, S. et al., “Impact Project: Searching for Solution to the Underride Problem,” SAE Technical Paper 982755, 1998, doi:10.4271/982755.

“Rear underride crashes kill thousands of people yearly worldwide. Underride guards did not follow the progress achieved by the automotive safety technology. . .”

And now, here we are in 2016: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0118.

Let’s get it right this time. Somebody’s life depends on it. Lots of somebodies.

Underride Roundtable coming up soon: http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/underride-roundtable-save-the-date-may-5-2016/

Donate to our underride research here: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

Missin’ you, AnnaLeah & Mary. . .

Share our Vision Zero Petition in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

“Our grandma wants to make the roads safer.” Remembering 2 girls in the aftermath of a truck crash  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/11/our-grandma-wants-to-make-the-roads-safer-remembering-2-girls-in-the-aftermath-of-a-truck-crash/

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