Committee named to study underride guards

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has named 16 people to an advisory committee that will study underride guards and make recommendations about safety regulations linked to severe underride crashes.

The group is formed as NHTSA publishes an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to consider requirements for side underride guards. 

“Safety is at the core of everything we do,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said in a press release. “The selection and establishment of this committee is a step forward in saving lives and fulfilling the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This committee will inform future actions and ensure that key stakeholders have a seat at the table on this important issue.”

Stoughton underride guard
(File photo: Stoughton)

Committee members include: Marianne Karth and Jane Mathis to represent families of underride crash victims; Harry Adler and Jennifer Tierney to represent truck safety organizations; Lee Jackson and Aaron Kiefer to represent motor vehicle crash investigators; Adrienne Gildea to represent law enforcement; Daniel McKisson to represent labor organizations; Jeff Bennett and Jeff Zawacki to represent motor vehicle engineers; Matthew Brumbelow and Claire Mules to represent the insurance industry; Dan Horvath and Doug Smith to represent motor carriers, including independent owner-operators; and John Freiler and Kristin Glazner to represent truck and trailer manufacturers.

Karth had previously criticized the decision to further study side guards. “This is just washing their hands of it and kicking it down the road,” she told at the time.

She was also critical of new U.S. standards for rear underride guards that mirror Canadian rules designed to better protect occupants of light vehicles at crash speeds up to 56 km/h. Previous standards were based on speeds of 48 km/h, and the upgraded guards will need to withstand bigger impacts when a car hits a guard straight on, or when the front half of a car overlaps the trailer’s rear.

Nine major trailer manufacturers have already adopted the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s ToughGuard Standards.

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