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Cars not protected in rear-end collisions with commercial trucks

Commercial trucks are required to have guards under the back of their trailers to prevent cars from driving underneath their vehicle in the event of a crash. These guards are called underride guards and the newest safety test found some dangerous news for car drivers in the U.S.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that their latest safety test showed that many commercial trucks failed at preventing serious and fatal injuries that result from cars rear-ending commercial trucks. They reported that seven out of the eight trailers tested failed the crash test that analyzes how well a truck's underride guard prevents passengers in cars involved in trucking accidents where the car rear-ends the commercial truck.

Their test found that a majority of the trucks' underride guards did not protect drivers or passengers from sustaining serious and fatal head and neck injuries during these crashes. The most dangerous type of rear-end crashes were when cars hit only 30 percent or less of a truck's underride guard instead of hitting at least 50 percent or more of the width of the back of the truck.

Rear-end collisions with commercial trucks are very dangerous for people riding in sedans and smaller cars. The federal government tightened their regulations in the past for commercial trucks to make their underride guards safer for other vehicles in the event of a crash but the new safety test shows that many trucks are still not able to prevent fatal accidents caused by rear-end collisions with tractor trailers.

The IIHS hopes that federal government agencies will use their latest safety test to issue new rules for commercial trucks in the U.S. to make their vehicles safer for everyone on the road.

Source: Bloomberg, "Improved Truck Trailers Still Capable of Killing Drivers," Jeff Plungis, March 14, 2013

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