Tag Archives: preventive maintenance

Understanding Underride VI: Maintenance of Underride Equipment

Recently, I reviewed proposed language for the “Maintenance Section” of the STOP Underrides! legislation [previously known as the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017]. Working to accurately spell out what was important to include in requirements for proper maintenance of rear underride guards made me realize how imperative it is that the basic problem of underride be better understood.

A true appreciation of the fundamental underride issue could, in fact, lead to a better grasp of what is at stake if an underride guard is not properly maintained. So that is what I hope to foster here. Because this is not a simple matter of keeping a machine functioning so it can continue to drive down the road; it is a matter of maintaining the integrity of a piece of equipment which can, hopefully, prevent sure death or debilitating injury.

Where does maintenance come into the picture? If you have a piece of equipment which is supposed to guard against deadly underride  — if designed in a particular way (and that includes how it is attached to body of the truck), then it would need to be maintained in such a way that it would continue to provide that same strength.

Herein lies the problem. The current rear underride guards on existing trucks might do what they are supposed to in some collisions and successfully prevent underride. However, if the guards (and their attachments to the trucks) are not properly maintained in like-new condition, then their integrity will be compromised and their strength will be weakened. Underride will be even more likely to occur, and people will die as a result.

And this is the reality for the millions of existing large trucks on the road today. As far as I can see, from simple observation when driving on the highways, many of the rear underride guards are not being properly maintained. Of course, this will be important for the newer, stronger guards, too, as they begin to be installed on new trucks or retrofitted to existing trucks.

Read more here: Proper Maintenance of Underride Guards Can Spell the Difference Between L-i-f-e & D-e-a-t-h

Annual Motor Vehicle Inspection Form: Are underride guards adequately inspected?

While we were getting set up for a side guard crash test this morning, I was taking photos of the tractor-trailer that was part of the test. I noticed an Annual Motor Vehicle Inspection form on the trailer. I looked it over trying very hard to find a line item by which the inspector and truck owner/driver would be reminded to check the condition of the rear underride guard which is required by law to be installed and maintained.

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I could not find anything  listed about underride guards.

Actually, I had picked one of these forms up in a truck stop previously and couldn’t find anything related to inspection of underride guards in the past. Just thought I would check again.


There is something not right about this picture.

Truck Drivers: Please make sure your underride (rear impact) guards are in good shape!

An underride guard–adequately designed, installed, and maintained–can mean the difference between life and death.

This JJ Keller Annual Vehicle Inspection Form does NOT list underride guards as an item for inspection. But, truck drivers, please make sure that your underride guard is in good condition!

annual vehicle inspection form

Rebekah photo of crash

Jerry and I recently went on a road trip and I could not resist photographing a few of the underride guards we saw en route!
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This single unit truck is not currently required by DOT to have an underride guard. But look at what it does have at the back: a piece of metal that is highly unlikely to prevent a car from riding under it upon impact.

We have petitioned Secretary Foxx to require this kind of truck to have a rear impact guard.
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