Successful side guard crash test at 33-34 mph — one year after we helped Aaron Kiefer with his first one. No Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI). If this had been a real-life crash, the people in the car would not have experienced deadly, severe underride of the side of the truck.
Lengthier video shows the construction of the side guard, as well as the prep work and aftermath clean-up by Aaron’s volunteer crew:
Thank you, Aaron, for your confidence that this is a solvable problem — and your commitment to follow this project through to its life-saving goal.
NBC News received a letter from the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association about the Today Show investigative report on Side Underride. After further investigation, NBC News added this to their article on the report:
Update and correction: After the publication of our story, we received a letter from the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA), which argues that our report overstated the simplicity of the side guard fix and that prototypes have been technical and commercial failures. TTMA made the same argument to NHTSA in a letter we referenced in our report, which you can read here. They also told us that TTMA has not made any political donations to lawmakers on the issue of side underrides, including to Senator Thune. In response to other points made by TTMA, we have updated our online report with TTMA’s response that guards in Europe are focused on protecting bicyclists and pedestrians, not automobiles and that NTSB said injuries and deaths “could” be reduced by side guards, instead of “would.” We also have updated campaign finance data, broken out donations from the trucking sector of the transportation industry, and corrected the period during which those donations were made.
I previously wrote about the TTMA’s May 13, 2016 letter to NHTSA about side guards. Read it here.
Despite the TTMA’s objections to the report, the fact remains that almost as many people die from side underride crashes each year as from rear underride crashes. And, furthermore, I have seen with my own eyes the difference that side guards can make in stopping deadly underride.
Will we let the technical and commercial failures of side guard prototypes in the past stop us from keeping at the task of solving this problem? I thank God for people like Aaron Kiefer and Perry Ponder who have kept at it until they successfully proved what human ingenuity could do to save lives.
Note: In fact, Europe’s side guard standards are designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists — which the U.S. should do, too! But Europe does not require the prevention of cars from underriding trucks. I have been in communication with a global automotive regulation specialist, and I hope that what happens here in the U.S. will have a ripple effect globally.
Could a crash test between a Tesla car and a trailer with a side guard turn out differently than Joshua Brown’s tragic crash with his Tesla into and under the side of a trailer without a side guard?
Would Elon Musk be willing to partner with us to discover the answer?
Could a crash test* between a Tesla & a side guard silence the skeptics?
* Multiple crash test scenarios could be utilized to compare with and without side guard, with Tesla and with a Malibu (or similar model), with Airflow Deflector/Perry Ponder’s AngelWing and with Aaron Kiefer’s TrailerGuard System.
Great progress is being made in underride protection on the sides of large trucks in the month of January 2017. While Aaron Kiefer is preparing for a crash test of his innovative TrailerSafe System side/rear guard on January 20 in North Carolina, Airflow Deflector tested Perry Ponder’s Angel Wing side guard design in New York.
The Angel Wing crash test was declared a success: the side guard prevented the side of the trailer from going past the windshield thus promising protection from Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI). In other words, it is likely that, due to the side guard in combination with the crashworthiness of the car, no one would have been killed or seriously injured by the collision between the side of this truck and a smaller passenger vehicle.
Side underride is not a new problem. For too long, nothing has been done about it. Yet here are two unique and innovative solutions to protect us from deadly side underride. Two Life-Savers.
I count myself privileged to be cheering these innovative and compassionate engineers on in their important work which will save countless lives. Now, here’s to getting these marvelous inventions onto the trucks we all drive around each day. . .
Partner with us to bring about a crash test of Aaron Kiefer’s life-saving truck side guard on January 20, 2017. We have thought of a way that you could participate in the production & testing of his latest professional-grade prototype.
We want to know if you would like to receive a specially-designed T-shirt — with Mary & AnnaLeah in mind — for a donation to this UNDERRIDE RESEARCH PROJECT/Crash Test:
You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $20 donation:
You would receive a shirt like this for a minimum $25 donation:
We are trying to figure out if we should move ahead with this T-shirt project. Another upcoming T-shirt design will be Christopher. Please let us know if you might like to have one of these shirts to support our underride research efforts in memory of AnnaLeah & Mary.
HOW WE CAME UP WITH THE Christopher & Bono LOGOS:
Aaron Kiefer is making great progress on the development of his innovative side/rear guard for large trucks. Recently, he asked me if I would like to create a logo for the rear aluminum attachment piece of it which will attach to existing rear underride guards — thus strengthening them to better be able to prevent rear underride — and to which the side guard portion attaches.
So I sat down with my family to brainstorm ideas for a logo. A couple of years ago, we had done the same thing to come up with a name and logo for our non-profit organization:
Aaron already calls his invention — which uniquely provides continuous protection around the side and rear of trailers — the TrailerGuard System.
In our brainstorming, we decided that we could call the side portion of his life-saving invention the Christopher Guard for the patron saint/advocate of travelers — keeping in mind AnnaLeah’s dragon and calling it Christopher, who would guard against sure death (my idea).
And we could call the rear attachment portion — which is designed to attach to the existing rear guard (making it more likely to prevent the guillotine effect of truck underride) — the Bono Guard for the patron saint, Beuno or Bono (Latin, bonus = good), known for the protection of children — using the image of Mary’s St. Bernard Gertie (my idea).
See a crash test of Aaron’s original version of his TrailerSafe System in the Spring of 2016:
Aaron Kiefer has designed an innovative combination side/rear underride guard for large trucks. Recently, he tallied up the number of side underride crashes which his crash reconstruction firm has investigated.
This is what he found:
-39 passenger vehicle/commercial vehicle underride accidents in 2014, 2015, 2016 YTD (16 average annual cases*) *Approx 90% of cases were sampled
-26 side, 13 rear
-19 into dry van trailers, (13 side, 6 rear)
-10 into flatbed trailers
-10 into other trailer types/other commercial vehicles
This Saturday morning found us helping out at Aaron Kiefer’s third crash test of his side guard prototype. We managed to complete two crash tests–both successful with no Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI). People in the car would probably have survived.
The first crash resulted in the car bouncing back with no part of the vehicle going under the truck. We concluded that the car being in neutral allowed it to be sent backward after the collision. If the car had been in gear, then it probably would not have done that. Because the hood was bent, we took off the broken front bumper to get the hood up in order to charge the battery on the car to prepare it for the second test.
The second crash still had no PCI but the side guard tore at two points–quite likely from sharp parts of the car where the bumper had been taken off. Because the guard tore, it allowed the car to go under the truck up to the point of the A-pillar–although still leaving the passenger compartment totally intact.
Another successful crash test day with promising results for future underride protection which can be manufactured for trailers and single unit trucks. Aaron envisions kits for retrofitting existing trucks, at around 200 pounds for maybe $1,000/truck.
The biggest failing of the day was my crash test video on the first crash; I held my camera at the wrong angle so you’ll have to tip your head to view it properly (audio also seemed to be muted at some points). Thankfully, my bloopers had no impact on the success of the underride prevention technology!
Imagine an underride guard on a truck which combines protection on the rear of the truck with protection on the side. Sound good?
We have an opportunity to raise money to crash test this innovative underride guard–designed by Aaron Kiefer, a forensic engineer/crash reconstructionist in North Carolina, who after seeing horrific crashes wanted to design better protection to prevent people from dying.
See Aaron’s Public Comment on single unit truck underride rulemaking: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2015-0070-0013 “. . . side impact regulations should be considered for straight trucks but more importantly for semitrailers.
Many lives can be saved through side impact protection that is capable of redirecting passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists from moving beneath a straight truck or semitrailer.”
We need to raise $20,000 for a crash test to test Aaron’s design at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Vehicle Research Center. So far, we have raised $4,500 to cover the costs of a 2010 Chevy Malibu and a tractor-trailer into which the car will crash.