When we crash test guards at 30 to 35 mph we get guards for 50 years that perform at 30 to 35 mph. The FHWA crash tests at real-world speeds with a suggested 62.2 mph and gets guards (Attenuators) that perform to 62.2 mph.
The FHWA Office of Safety considers that a 100 km/h (62.2 mph) crash test is representative of worst case run-off-road crashes. We agree, real-world fatal crashes happen on 50+ mph roadways and between 50 and 60 mph. If we test at real-world crash speeds we will get underride protection that performs at these speeds.
Newer energy-absorbing underride guard designs have the possibility to protect vehicles in higher-speed crashes at real-world speeds above 55 mph. Governments need to begin crash testing new designs and find those capable of better speed performance and determine the distance from the front and back of trucks or trailers to extend guards for improved high-speed performance. Shaping underride guards can deflect vehicles in high-speed crashes and save lives.
In America, big insurance, trucking unions, and some trucking victims organizations have split the desires and voices of one million trucking victims for the first time. We have seen awards given for 35 mph stiff underride guards that will still kill and maim half of trucking victims. What happens when one of these so-called awarded by victims guards kills your loved one in a crash at 35 mph? Will victims that deem 35 mph plus crash victims not worth saving testify against you in court, will the awards given by so-called truck safety org’s or the Insurance Industry thru IIHS be evidence against your lost loved one or their children seeking justice? Will the news media speak out in reports against your lost loved one? Will legislation in the U.S. Congress make these stiff killer guards legal tender and basically lawsuit proof? Victims of stiff underride guards in crashes at 35 mph and above have voices and rights to live, rights to just compensation in court, big money and big media have silenced us for too long!
The insurance industry not only raises the cost of healthcare in the U.S. but also adds costs to car and truck insurance with a 30 to 40% profit margin markup. They use these markups to lobby the U.S. government to the detriment of our people and their safety. Millions of dollars to hamper democracy and silence citizen voices that cannot increase prices to raise lobbying dollars. Thru IIHS the safety testing arm of the insurance industry they conduct low-speed crash testing of cars and trucks making the auto and truck manufacturers look very safe as they can easily pass these less than life-saving tests. Human beings tend to meet these tests with little motivation to exceed them. Government has been excused from it’s duty to protect the people through proper testing and regulation of cars and trucks.
When we crash test guards at 30 to 35 mph we get guards for 50 years that perform at 30 to 35 mph. The FHWA crash tests at real-world speeds (MASH crash tests for truck attenuators) with a suggested 62.2 mph and gets guards (Attenuators) that perform to 62.2 mph. We drive and crash at highway speeds, why would we only crash test for low-speed city roadways? If we had high-speed crash tests for trucks and cars, manufacturers would meet them in order to maintain their market shares. When all manufacturers easily pass a test there is no incentive for improvement.
(Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) presents uniform guidelines for crash testing permanent and temporary highway safety features and recommends evaluation criteria to assess test results.)
Increasing the length of the HC (HoneyComb shaped front nose underrun guard) increases the critical impact speed, it requires extending the guard out from the truck or trailer 600 mm or about 2 feet to withstand high-speed impacts (both front and rear guards). We have fought for over 50 years for these life-saving 2 foot extensions, they require little cost and very little weight and yet would save so many lives. Two feet of honeycomb aluminum or piston extensions to save lives in highway-speed crashes, stiff guards kill, period!
To 95 km/h (59 mph) with a 300 mm – length HC structure (+27%)
To 102 km/h (63 mph) with a 600 mm – length HC structure (+36%)
To 107 km/h (67 mph) with a 900 mm – length HC structure (+43%)
If we crash tested underride guards for trucks at 62.2 mph we would only need one to two feet of extensions to pass these tests. They would add very little weight and cost to the current stiff underride guards. We had energy-absorbing guards in the early 1990’s that were effective to 50 mph. We now give awards to stiff guards that kill and maim at 35 mph and will kill a majority of underride victims!
It is time to adopt modern reflective colors for truck and trailer conspicuity enhancements. The Underride Network had several member activists receive awards from then President Clinton for their work for reflective tape on big rigs and trailers. We recommended then and now that fluorescent colors replace the poor performing red and white to save lives. A Canadian study found white tape increased driver recognition by over 350 feet from that of red and white tape. Fluorescent colors have similar candlepower to white tape with the added visibility of color for daytime recognition. Lime green and bright orange are commonplace on traffic signs and emergency vehicles because of their superior candlepower. Increasing the amount of reflectors and maintaining cleanliness of reflective material can also increase reaction time for motorists approaching slow moving trucks on hills and in slow moving traffic. Road film can decrease effectiveness of tape and reflectors by 90%.
Results from VC-COMPAT Project show underride deaths can be reduced!
The analysis revealed that about 11 % of the fatally and 30 % of the seriously injured car occupants could be saved if trucks were equipped with energy absorbing front underrun protection systems (e.a. FUPS) instead of rigid FUPS, and that approximately 57 % of the fatalities and 67 % of seriously injured could be prevented from their injures due to improved rear underrun protection systems (RUPS). The report closes up with the major conclusion that improving rear underrun protection systems show a comparable reduction potential as for improving front underrun protection systems.
“The size of an energy-absorbing truck front structure directly correlates to the survivable closing speed between car and truck in head-on collisions (e.g. 75 km/h (47 mph) survivable closing speed requires a 400 mm (1.3 feet) long energy-absorbing structure, 90 km/h (56 mph) requires 800 mm (2.6 feet).” From Volvo Report
Disabled rights are a big part of issues involving trucking victims as crashes create many severely disabled victims. We are seeing maybe the most massive attack on disabled and aging rights in U.S. history. Locking down a third of our population with chronic disabilities or aged in their 60’s is literally prison with penalty of death. Fear of death is just as effective as any ankle bracelet in maintaining confinement. Access to supplies, access to aid are issues of further concern. While workers and business owners get thousands in assistance many disabled while looking for work or trying to start businesses get little or no assistance. It seems media and both parties are as usual silent to this civil rights abuse of a powerless population. We will be watching these and associated issues.
It has been validated statistically that odds are if you are 50 plus years and lose a spouse or child to a truck crash you will likely suffer from a heart attack or other heart issues. Courts will not compensate your loss as victims pay the negative costs of cheap shipping for the industry and society. Watch your diet and seek medical advice if you are an older survivor.
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The crash compatibility of all vehicles is a human right!
Truck Safety is a Human Rights issue.
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