ARLINGTON, Va. — A new rear underride guard from Utility Trailer has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ToughGuard award. The new guard comes standard on all dry vans, refrigerated vans and flatbeds manufactured after December 2019.
Trailers from Utility, one of the largest trailer manufacturers in North America, have previously qualified for the award only when equipped with an optional auxiliary vertical bumper available for dry vans and refrigerated vans. Utility designed its new guard to decrease weight and protect the horizontal portion of the guard from damage that can occur during loading and unloading.
Rear underride guards are metal bumpers that hang from the backs of semitrailers to prevent underride in a rear impact. Underride occurs when a passenger vehicle slides under a larger vehicle during a crash. This typically causes severe intrusion into the passenger vehicle’s occupant space and is often deadly.
IIHS introduced the ToughGuard award in 2017 for trailers with guards that prevent underride in all three of the institute’s rear underride tests — full-width, 50% overlap and 30% overlap.
In each test, a typical midsize car travels at 35 mph toward the back of a parked semitrailer. In the full-width test, the car strikes the center of the guard head-on. In the 50% overlap, half of the car’s front end strikes the guard. In the 30% overlap, the toughest evaluation, 30% of the car’s front strikes the corner of the trailer.