People die, on a regular basis, when their car goes under the front of a large truck. Europe has a Front Underride Protection standard for large trucks. Here is some research on this topic to help inform U.S. lawmakers, regulators, and industry leaders on how we can bring this added level of protection to our roads.
- Heavy Truck Front Underride Protection Devices Design Principles, International Journal of Vehicle Systems Modelling & Testing, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011
- Heavy truck front-end deployable system opportunities for crash compatibility with passenger vehicles, Keith Friedman, D. Mihora, & J. Hutchinson, Pages 1-12 | Received 07 Aug 2015, Accepted 31 Jan 2017, Published online: 22 Feb 2017, ABSTRACT
By 2030, substantial increases in the number of heavy trucks are expected to be on roadways throughout the United States. Currently, 3000 to 5000 occupant fatalities occur in the vehicles impacted by heavy trucks. A significant portion of these engage with the front end of the heavy truck. The use of radar systems has been shown to significantly mitigate many of these rear-end crashes. In this study, the use of deployable front-end airbags is evaluated in terms of the potential effects on passenger vehicles when they are struck in the front or rear by the front of a heavy truck. A virtual testing methodology for the evaluation of various designs under impact conditions is described. The study reports on the potential effects of radar-activated, heavy-truck, front-end airbag systems on crash mitigation in front- and rear-end impacts.
- Rear underride crashes are easier to address than front or side ones, IIHS Status Report, Status Report, Vol. 48, No. 2 | March 14, 2013, Front underride guards, which are required in the EU to protect vehicle occupants in crashes with combined speeds of about 35 mph, also might prevent some deaths. An earlier Institute study of fatal truck crashes in Indiana found that 9 out of 44 front underride crashes might have been survivable in the absence of underride (see “FARS undercounts fatal large truck-car underride crashes,” Feb. 15, 1997).
- SuperTruck project for fuel efficiency might also provide better front underrun protection with tractor design. In trucking today, it seems nothing is off the table when it comes to enhancing vehicle fuel efficiencies. Old technologies are being reexamined, while new ones are studied and tested. A new era of ultra-clean, ultra-efficient trucks is just around the corner, likely putting old-style, long-nosed, slab-grilled rigs out to pasture once and for all. See SuperTruck tractor photos here: Fuel Smarts The Future of Fuel Economy, Truckinginfo.com, by Jack Roberts, June 2016
- Design of a Tractor for Optimised Safety and Fuel Consumption 3.4 Future Design Concept Trucks
The EC funded integrated project Advanced PROtection SYStems “APROSYS” is one of the most important projects for this study because it is intended to start this project based on these results. In the APROSYS project a safety concept for commercial vehicles which is able to deflect a vulnerable road user (VRU: pedestrians and cyclists) sideways in case of an accident by using the impact impulse was developed. The achieved deflection reduces the risk of a run over. A tapered truck front has been designed and analysed that allows additional deformation space for frontal collisions. Such a front shape can be realised by an add-on structure mountable to the front or by a fully integrated concept as shown in Fig. 3-13. In this project the integrated concept will be scaled to a 40 t-HGV truck. During the development phase of the new front structure in APROSYS a large number of design versions were generated and assessed. The resulting final principal shape was compared to the basic truck in various numerical simulations with different accident scenarios, pedestrian models and parameter settings. Due to the deflection principle, which is used in the rounded front design for the weakest traffic participants, the structure underneath can be designed mainly for protecting the heavy vehicle’s occupants and integrating partner protection relating to passenger vehicles (improved compatibility). The deflection is not only a solution for the protection of pedestrians, but also reduces the impact energy introduced into the heavy vehicle and the passenger car in a HGV-to-car-accident.
Such a convex truck front can significantly reduce the risk of a run over for VRU and also deflect passenger cars. In addition, it provides a crush zone for energy absorption. The enhanced passive safety could be shown in avoiding serious rollover accidents by 87.5 % of the simulated cases in APROSYS [FAS08].
Another concept truck shown in Fig. 3-14 was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles
2002 in Hannover. The Aero Safety Truck is a semi-trailer tractor for long-distance transport.
- NHTSA – THE HEAVY GOODS VEHICLE AGGRESSIVITY INDEX
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv21/09-0323.pdf Currently the structural AI is addressing the primary
contact only (the contact with the truck front).
However, numerical studies and experiments 
have shown the severity of the secondary impact
makes it a highly relevant aspect for future
consideration. Studies of the “nose cone” 
indicated not only a reduced likelihood for run-over,
but also a reduced severity of the secondary impact
(prevent forward-projection of pedestrian).
Existing test methods for passenger cars are
continually under development, such as the research
into rotational acceleration as an assessment method
The concept was developed in the innovation and design centre of the vehicle manufacturer Hymer. The improved aerodynamics lead to a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 3 l/100 km. An improvement of safety is realised by an extremely stiff safety cage [LAS03, HYM02] The DAF Xtreme Future Concept (XFC), which can be seen in Fig. 3-15, was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in 2002. The improved aerodynamic concept reduces fuel consumption and the danger of overrunning other road users by a deflecting frontend. The cabin is designed to be based on an aluminium space frame [EAA02]. The Scania Concept illustrated in Fig. 3-16, was also presented on the IAA Commercial
Vehicles in 2002 as a bonnet truck concept for the future. The targets are to identify the market interest for this concept and to optimise aerodynamics. In 2003 an additional concept was presented with the Scania Crash Zone Concept. It has an added structure of 600 mm at the front that absorbs more energy than that of a conventional truck. Therefore the survivable collision speed rises from 56 to 90 km/h. It has potential to reduce the number of fatalities in car to truck collisions. The extra weight for nose concept amounts to 250 kg [SCA02, HAH03]. In 2008 MAN presented the Bionic Truck with the body form of a dolphin shown in Fig. 3-19. The design of the truck leads to a reduction of fuel consumption up to 25 % according to the manufacturer’s declaration. Therefore the cabin needs to be lengthened by 70 cm and the trailer by about 50 cm. So over all, the truck is 1.2 m longer than a conventional truck.
Furthermore comprehensive design changes are carried out at the tractor and at the trailer. The trailer has a much rounder front shape. The trailer has a tear drop shape with a tapered rear part and its wheels are covered. For these reasons the truck has a cD value of 0.29 [SCH08].
- Investigating the extent to which UNECE Regulation 93 constrains the ability of Europe to permit longer trucks to improve environmental and safety benefits By Iain Knight
- Piercing the Passenger Compartment — Voluntary Efforts to Stop the Horrors of Underride Truck Crashes by Andy Young
Other posts on Front Underride Protection:
- How Far Have We Come In The 50 Years Since Jayne Mansfield’s Death By Truck Underride?
- “Crash Analysis of Front UnderRun Protection Device using Finite Element Analysis” research from India
- Powerful & Informative Case Made for Underride Guard Improvement by Trucker/Attorney
- Why Front Underride or Front Underrun is Important (Deadly yet preventable?)
- FRONT Underrun Protection Systems (FUPS) Research; So why does Europe require this & US does not?