Need 5-star crash rating on trucks for underride protection; otherwise 5-star cars will protect no one

NHTSA  plans to revolutionize the way they crash-test cars and rate vehicles. Good. But they better do the same for tractor-trailers and single unit trucks. Unless truck underride protection is drastically improved, 5-star cars will protect no one in way too many collisions with trucks.

Since 1978, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings have helped consumers buy vehicles that better protect them on the road. We crash-test vehicles, then assign ‘star’ ratings on how they perform, giving extra credit for vehicles that offer advanced safety features. One star is the lowest rating, and five stars is the highest. More stars means safer cars.

But, in a time when vehicle technologies advance at lightning speed, NHTSA must constantly innovate to stay ahead of the pace of change. That’s why, today, we’ve announced a plan to revolutionize the way we crash-test cars and rate vehicles. Our goal –as always– is to promote an even higher level of safety and put that knowledge to work for consumers.

Strengthening NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for the Future

U.S. DOT brings 5-Star Safety Ratings into a new safety era

U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

. . . when we were in Washington [March 5], we met at IIHS with some of the members of the planning group for the Underride Roundtable (Russ Rader, IIHS; John Lannen, TSC, Andy Young, truck litigation attorney/truck driver/truck company owner; Jerry, Isaac, and myself)–taking the opportunity to get some work done in person. One of the ideas, which we were throwing around when brainstorming about how to shape our Panel Discussion, was the need for creating Best Practices for Underride Protection and re-visiting the issue on an ongoing basis.

Byron Bloch had joined us for the meeting. One suggestion he made, during our Roundtable planning meeting, was that IIHS, who is well-known for that crash rating safety program for the automotive industry, develop a 5-Star Crash Rating Program for truck/trailer manufacturers as well.

That idea has grabbed our attention. After all, the IIHS crash testing  of various major trailer manufacturers prior to our crash and continuing in the years following, was a source of revelation to us about the extent of the underride problem and the reality that it was/is a solvable problem. Delivery of a Vision Zero Petition to Washington; What I have learned in our battle for safer roads

On top of that, so many other safety problems need to get taken care of in the trucking industry before we can rest easier on the road in our “safer” cars. So many.

Here’s one thing someone pointed out to me recently: Automatic Braking for Trucks Taking Longer to Develop than Cars – Research and Markets.



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