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.
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 survivable closing speed requires a 400 mm long energy-absorbing structure, 90 km/h, requires 800 mm).” From Volvo Report
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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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