We simply legalized guards already on the road in 1996, studies show little if any lives saved. Victims asked for energy absorbing guards 16 inches from the road and were basically laughed at by NHTSA. We believe at a minimum 6,000 more lives could have been saved and thousands of injuries could have been lessened or prevented, and families could have evaded financial ruin if we had approved lower energy absorbing guards. NHTSA is again in 2016, twenty years later, proposing a rear guard standard that after a two year implementation period would legalize without changes or improvement 97% to 98% guards already on the roadways. These guards will be legal for approximately 20 years, the average time it takes to visit a new rulemaking. These guards will rule the roads until 2038. If you look at improvements in obstruction detection technology, we might lose another 3000 lives. Corporations will not have to build new guards and these guards will be approved by the U.S. government and cost victims in litigation.
Energy-absorbing high speed guards cost the same to build as the old poorly designed guards. These guards save millions in legal, healthcare, and insurance costs. It is cheaper to save lives! We need Vision Zero planning that places lives above profits. NHTSA should require retrofitting the old guillotine guards with angled struts attached to the ends of the guards to strengthen the entire guards and protect cars in offset crashes. We need NHTSA to crash test these 20 plus year old designs so people can choose the guards that will be required. NHTSA could rate guard performance with statistics and crash testing to encourage industry to make improvements. We know that guards on America’s roadways have changed little since the early 1990’s.
It does not cost $200 to $300 to install a guard as NHTSA claims, especially for imported units. Buy the parts and add it up NHTSA, quit asking industry for inflated costs to cheat on your anti-citizen cost-benefit fraud! We need to acknowledge that 75% of fatal crashes happen on roadways with speed limits at or above 55 mph. We do not need a 30 mph standard as this standard will be. American guards meeting the Canadian Standard failed recent offset 35 mph crash tests. Crash tests and computer models in Australia and Brazil since the early 1990’s prove high speed guards are cheap and simple to build and work at higher speeds. We tested rounded guards to spin the car away from the truck at very high speeds in 1992. Volvo and VC-Compact project in Europe showed extending guards out from the truck extended the effectiveness of guards at high speeds. The amount of extension of the guard from the truck or trailer correlates to effective closing speed effectiveness.
VC-COMPAT: “Plans are underway to extend the front of the truck 300mm to 500mm or more to create a crash zone or deformable soft nose that would absorb crash energy and might reduce serious injuries and fatalities another 10% from the current standard on trucks with energy-absorbing guards and survivable speeds would be increased to 80-90 km/h (50 to 55 mph).”
“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 long energy-absorbing structure, 90 km/h (55 mph), requires 800 mm).” From Volvo Report
Vision Zero must be made law to stop these corporate giveaways to trade lives for costs. NHTSA must stop lying to the American people that high speed crashes are not surviveable and non-fixable! NHTSA is spreading propaganda that high speed guards are not cost effective when MUARC, Impact Project, and VC-COMPAT Project all show and claim otherwise. We will have self driving cars and NHTSA claims we can only have stiff pieces of metal poorly attached for underride guards, something is wrong!