The vast majority of fatal underrides happen on highways at highways speeds above 50 mph. So, why do we crash test at 35 mph? Maybe so guards will not fail and the public will not be alarmed at the dire danger their loved ones face on American roadways. Educate yourself to fight unscientific low-speed crash tests.
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. When guards fail tests at real world speeds manufacturers will finally feel public and political pressure to increase crash effectiveness. We must see real world tests of guards at 50 and 62.2 mph such as tests at FHWA for crash attenuators. We must use more extensive crash test criteria such as those used in the AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). MASH tests cars to 100 km/h or 62.2 mph and big trucks at 80 km/h or 50 mph. MASH tests crash attenuators at various speeds and we should do the same for underride guards to give the public a real world picture of their safety.
When we crash test guards at 30 to 35 mph we get guards for 50 years that perform at 30 to 35 mph. When you try something over and over and over again and get a negative result, why would you continue this activity. If we crash test guards at high speeds perhaps we will see guards that perform at high speeds. The FHWA tests crash attenuators in 62.2 mph crash tests (Real World Crash Speeds) and attenuators protect cars and trucks in crashes at 62.2 mph and more!
Why did the TL-3 test speed not increase above 100km/hr (62.2 mph)?
The FHWA Office of Safety considers that a 100 km/hr test is representative of worst case run-off-road crashes. Early on in the panel discussions related to the update of NCHRP Report 350, there was considerable discussion about the need to crash test at speeds over 100 km/h given that the posted speed limit of some highways is now above 65 mph. Based on data available to the research team it was concluded that, regardless of posted speeds, most impacts with fixed objects occurred at somewhat reduced speeds, likely due to pre-crash application of brakes.
Use the link above to browse some valuable research on underride safety, browse some of the research hosted here at the Underride Network, and look at the MASH crash testing and the obvious crash testing at real world speeds that results in protection that exceeds those high-speed requirements.