Feds propose stronger truck guards after Call 6 exposed dangers

Current standards are too weak, critics say

INDIANAPOLIS -- The federal government is proposing a new rule that will require stronger underride guards be installed semi's and tractor trailers.

The guards are designed to keep drivers and passengers from sliding underneath a truck in the event of a rear-end collision, however, the underride guards often collapse on impact.

U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking public input on the proposal, which would require underride guards be able to withstand impacts from crashes at 35 miles per hour, versus the current 30-miles-per-hour standard.

The new U.S. standards, which match current Canadian standards, would require underride guards be able to withstand impacts from crashes at 35 miles per hour, versus the current 30 mile per hour standard.

The decision by NHTSA comes in response to a petition from Marianne Karth, who lost two daughters in an underride crash, and the Truck Safety Coalition.

“It’s very encouraging for it to have gotten to this point, where they’re taking public comment,” said Karth. “This means they’re committed to taking a serious look at it.”

A three-month investigation by Call 6 Investigates revealed federal standards for underride guards may not be enough to keep motorists safe.

NHTSA estimates 400 people die each year from crashing into the back of a semi-truck. 

NHTSA will take public comment through February 16, 2016, and may revise the rule before adopting it.

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