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U.S. Rule Makers Look to Canadians for Advice

WASHINGTON, DC— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it’ll issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking about rear impact/underride guards and other safety strategies for single unit trucks as well as trailers and semitrailers.

The decision comes after a petition from the Truck Safety Coalition, requesting requiring improved underride guards be issued, and that the Department of Transportation begin studies and rulemakings for side guards and front override guards.

“Based on the petition, available information, and the agency's analysis in progress, NHTSA has decided that the petitioners' request related to rear impact guards merits further consideration,” the agency said.

Petitioners stated that more injuries and fatalities could be avoided if the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for rear underride guards were more like Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The major difference between the Canadian motor vehicle safety standard for rear impact protection (No. 223) on trailers and the relevant FMVSS is that Canadian underride guards need to meet higher strength and energy absorption requirements than U.S. underride guards.

Petitioners want all trucks and trailers to be equipped with energy absorbing rear impact guards mounted 16 inches from the ground with vertical supports mounted 18 inches from the side edges.

NHTSA will look at current data and seek information from the public as well as Canadian officials in order to make a rule regarding underride guards.

The agency plans to pursue rulemaking through two separate notices on distinct applications of rear impact protection. The first notice would be about rear impact guards for single unit trucks and other safety strategies not currently applicable to single unit trucks. The second notice would be about rear impact guards for trailers and semitrailers.

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