NHTSA issues final rule on rear underride protection for semi-trailers

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NHTSA issues final rule on rear underride protection for semi-trailers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized a rule that updates two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards related to underride crashes.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized a rule that updates two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards related to underride crashes.

The rule requires rear impact guards on trailers and semi-trailers with sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of passenger vehicles in multiple crash scenarios.

Rear underride crashes, which are often deadly, occur when the front end of a vehicle crashes into the back of a larger vehicle, such as a large trailer or semi-trailer, and slides under that vehicle.

“This rule, along with increased research and the creation of an advisory committee on underride protection, is the result of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is a key part of USDOT’s 2022 National Roadway Safety Strategy,” according to an NHTSA news release.

NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff said that his agency’s priority is making roads safe for everyone.

“This new rule will improve protection for passengers and drivers of passenger vehicles while also meeting a critical mandate from Congress under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Cliff said.

In addition, NHTSA is implementing a number of other underride provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including:

  • Establishing a federal advisory committee on underride protection, which will complete research on side underride guards for trailers and semi-trailers to assess their effectiveness, feasibility, benefits, costs, and impact on intermodal operations.
  • Planning to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to consider requirements for side underride guards for crashes into the sides of trailers and semi-trailers. This rulemaking also responds to a provision in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to report the findings of research on side underride guards in a Federal Register notice to seek public comment.
  • Improving data collection of underride crashes by recommending inclusion of underride data in State crash data systems and by providing educational materials to State and local police departments on identifying and recording underride crashes; and
  • Conducting research on rear impact guard designs that better protect occupants of passenger vehicles in even more rear underride crash scenarios.
The Trucker News Staff

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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Why aren’t the police stopping all the jacked up pickup trucks with bumper heights over 30” which is a safety violation and can cause the same thing as a semi rear ended under carriage crash or driving up over the top of a smaller car from the front! This is just as dangerous as the semi truck bumper issue!

No it’s not as dangerous because the car will hit the trucks rear tires because they’re not 8 feet in front of the bumper

Most tractor trailer rear axles are not 8 feel from rear of trailer. My rear axle is 36 inches from the back of my 51 foot 6 inch trailer

What a joke if the 4wheeler would get of there phones and pay attention. Now we have to pay for dip sticks that drive too fast or reckless the trucker has to pay

Amen are you allowed to have tires sticking out from under your truck by 3-6-9 inches without a oversize permit?

Not nearly as dangerous because you have the rear axle of the pickup right there within a couple feet of the rear bumper. If the bumper doesn’t stop them, the rear axle will. A trailer however, with the tandems forward has as much as 10 feet before you get to the rear axle which means the rear bumper of that trailer is already in your teeth before you hit something low/solid enough to stop you.

Because people aren’t dying from hitting pickup trucks. People drive into ponds and drown 🤷 we supposed to put fences around all ponds?….we can’t dummy proof how to drive, Stay off the Phone and people Won’t Wreck into other cars.

Well if people got off of their damn phones and stopped texting and driving and actually paid attention to the road and what’s in front of them then the would see the truck and not hit it and as far as the operator of the lifted truck in question the actually have a dramatically greater field of vision to detect dangers down the road. In military tactics they even refer to it as having the higher ground .

“NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff said that his agency’s priority is making roads safe for everyone.”

That is one of the most laughable statements I have ever seen.

The ONLY way to make roads safer is to reduce the number of vehicles on them.

Any other approaches will fail.

That’s not always the case, reducing vehicles. You can have two vehicles on a road and some how, they’ll hit one other. It starts with the drivers.

They do. Also, the rear axle is closer in many instances and pick-ups much lower weight allows the rear end to be picked up and the vehicle push by the car. As opposed to a semi that just sheers the top off.

You are right!! Educating all drivers and insisting everybody think about safety doesn’t work. Too many selfish drivers on our highways. A dashcam is a must!!

Do away with 53ft. trailers that way you want have all that overhang past the tandems and the tandems will absorb most of the impact

The tandems slide so you can balance the weight of the trailer out. Fully loaded, 34,000 on the tractor drives and 34,000 on the trailer tandems. Regardless the length you still have to balance the weight out or get a overweight ticket.

That’s not going to happen. But if they do away with the idiots that like to drive recklessly and distracted around semi trucks then it would make the world a safer place to drive in.

Just wait till they start bringing in the 62ft trailers, they have in Canada.
Calling them Super-trailers..
That’s going to be fun, trying to get around these cities.

You sound about stupid . When you run into the back of a trailer at full speed you are probably gonna die anyway . It doesn’t matter the size of the trailer

Oh your a smart one. A 53’ trailer has nothing to do with it. If moron drivers would start paying attention to their driving and stop trying to cut-in, speed, etc etc, then the number of crashes would decline!! STOP BLAMING THE TRUCKS, TRAILERS AND THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY FOR YOUR INABILITY TO ACT LIKE A DECENT, INTELLIGENT HUMANBEING WITH ANY BRAINS IN THEIR HEADS!!

Boy that is a fact people driving around looking at their phones etc and they blame everything on the trucks and the drivers

“If moron drivers would start paying attention… the number of crashes would decline!!”

So simple but you can’t legislate people into doing the right thing. There will always be idiots doing this so regulations are always about minimizing damage from said idiots.

It’s like trying to enforce abstinence only sex education and being surprised when teen pregnancy goes up. Instead of telling them not to do something they’re going to do anyway they have to have the means to do it more safely.

I do think driver education needs to be more strict, and have better public transport to get people off the road. Underride guards will catch the people that slip through.

Also take into account that someone can be rear ended and pushed into a trailer through no fault of their own.

As a truck driver, I agree with both of you. First off, yes, PEOPLE need to get their heads out of their asses.
Second, no 53 ft trailers should be allowed without a triple or spread axle mounted no more forward than 3′ from the rear.
That solves all the issues, accounts for the Federal Bridge Law, and both sides can F off.
Super simple.

Love this,leave those truckers alone,we need a nationwide memorial for those drivers that gave there lives for supplying the world with there foods and stuff!!

AGREED, PLUS, BAN CELL PHONES, People Act Like Idiots, Drive Like Idiots
And Vote Like Idiots. Welcome to America


Well now… let’s add a stronger bumper to trailers and in bidens own communist state of California force the trucks to drive 15 miles an hour slower than those morons in cars that have no idea what a safty zone is around a truck. Hmmmm there’s some more of that high quality California thinking in action.
Thank you all for voting a communist into office. Remember boys and girls… your the professional so it will always be your fault.

Yet again the government is regulating business to get more money when the problem is with the government not spending enough to enforce the laws. Excessive speeding and following too close are the general causes. Why should the trucking industry pay to keep you safe when you are too careless to do it for yourself.

Because the trucking companies. Are making to much money and need to be controlled. Anytime you can make government aid your evil we must all be beholding to uncle Sam or your evil.
Have you not seen all the Billboards across America if your in an accident it’s always the truckers fault
We should maybe even look at banning trucks on major roads all together. Had a friend tell me they shouldn’t let trucks on I-80.

As eve one has commented, and as common sense would dictate if there was any left in the world, make the roads safer by rebooking the license of the morons that can’t follow simple rules of the road, you rear end a tractor trailer, it is your fault and only your fault, following to close/ failure to drive a reasonably distance apart.

Here what you do. Stop selling trailers with “Sliding Tandems” Sell trailers with a fixed axle behind the bar. There is not as much let’s say any where to go when a tandem is in the last pin hole directly in front of the bar. Spreadmobiling is the only way to go anyhow. If even sliding is so necessary then make adjustments by sliding the front axle, and leave the rear stationary in front of the crash bar. When you hit a Crash Bar on a trailer and the tires and axle assembly is right there how far can a 4 wheeler go under your trailer. Look how far up this car went. Where would it have gone if it was slid to the back?

That’s the way it is in California rear end anybody under any circumstances it’s your fault it’s law here

Too many people in a hurry.
Too many people don’t know the rules and don’t followed the rules.
They need to give a mandatory safety refreshing course of the road rules, every year or two, so people can be more conscious of their own safety on the road.

This is ridiculous safe roads them self are unsafe all the pot holes try fixing your roads for safety quit blaming the professional drivers it’s all the people on the road on there phones not paying attention to driver so what saying just because you put a bumper guard to keep 4 wheelers form going under your trailer is gonna safe there life when they slam in to you at a high rate of speed like hitting a brick wall is not gonna kill some crazy

And they thinking to lower speed at 60mph for all trucks in the future you will see more of this kind situation 4 wheeler driver allway on PHONE!!!!

It’s a shame that nobody actually sees the real truth behind this ” new rule”. It’s not a new law, it’s a backup plan. Whether the trucking industry likes it or not, the government is going to go through with the speed limiters on trucks. Seriously, why reinvent the wheel regarding rear impact guards on semi trailers if the government wasn’t preparing for something? The government is fully aware there will be plenty of rear-end accidents by automobile drivers. Think about it, who is going to backup a semi trailer at 35 mph on the highways? And the same “truck safety” lobbiest group people are too blind and foolish to see that they themselves will be involved in some of the accidents that they support and lobby for blindly. They are being deceived by their own people.

The dam drivers of the cars should pay attention to the road and the traffic and this might not happen,


Trying to protect idiots from themselves
at truckers expense. Inattentive drivers cause rear end collisions. Maybe cars should be required to have 4ft tall shock absorbing front bumpers.

Don’t make sense yall try to gov all trucks below 60 what yall think gonna happen when yall do that gonna be a lot of road rage people running into trailers

I read a lot of the comments on here and the one thing I never Read and probably the easiest way to prevent accidents on the road is better educate new drivers on how to drive around large trucks and vehicles Because if you are not taught the dangers I won’t know And maybe have a device that whenever the car is put into drive that your cell phone no longer works You’re a great day everybody

I agree!! They have the technology to shut the phone off, or limit use while driving. I had a Samsung phone that did that, at least until the next update where they took that feature away. It would automatically send a message that I was driving and would get back to them asap. After I stopped I would get notified of the missed call or text. None of my phones have had that feature since.
I’m a paramedic, and I see more crashes caused by the “stupid phone” than anything else. I guess the wireless companies give more “donations” to political campaigns than the trucking industry.

I’m with other drivers on here you can’t fix stupid and costing
truckers that much money to do stuff the damn general public needs to stop driving if I can’t drive with a s***

If the damn federal government wants all that stuff on their trailers then they need to pay for it not us and if they have a small car increase the registration fee and if they have a jacked up truck increase their registration fee to pay for it

In addition to this, the issue of trailer lights needs to be addressed. Brake/turn/position lights are too small and too low on the trailers. Repeater lights perhaps on the top of the trailer are more visible to following vehicles. Thanks

Doesn’t matter how strong of a bumper or guard you put on a trailer. If you run into the back of a vehicle weighing 16 tons empty or up to 40 tons loaded its not going to be a pretty scene. Put your phones down and pay attention people! And quit tailgating!

Speed kills we’re told. Slow trucks down to 50, and let them 4 wheelers drive a safe speed of say 85! While posting on their social media! This should solve all the problems.

Another example of the government throwing money at trying to fix stupid. You cannot control the other guy driving like an idiot and not paying attention, the trucking industry show not have to bare the cost. Our taxes could be put to much better use.

Following too close , you can’t see around a larger vehicle and rear end another when they pull out seen it many times over the years. And twice vans tried to pass on the shoulder and drive under trailers .

I feel we are all responsible in one way or another as professional drivers we should all drive for each other with respect for everyone around us true professionals should be aware of everything around us whether offensive or defensive it’s going to take a humble unselfishness respectful character in us all . In retrospect we have all allowed ourselves to become angry and annoyed with each other because of our life or circumstances but we forget we all in the same world with the same problems . If we can’t respect each other without compassion we are doomed regardless the rules and regulations the only cure starts with us professional drivers lead by example. That’s what sets us apart from the rest.

Wow, absolutely perfectly said. This is probably the most intelligent thing I have read anywhere in a long time. I wish others could also embrace this, but, unfortunately it’s hard to find anyone that does not think of them selves. Also I don’t know if there’s many people that even know what the words unselfishness, respect, compassion or humble even mean these days. I applaud you and thank you for sharing this.


You can be the most professional driver to have ever driven anything anywhere and still get rear ended. I was driving on I-15 in Utah one sunny day and got rear ended by an older couple in baby Benz. When I got back to them to see if they were okay they were laughing up a storm. Said it wasn’t my fault because they were taking a nap. Doing 75 miles an hour on cruise control.

Run a 48 foot spread axle your axle is not that far in front dot bumper. Dot bumpers should not be built out of aluminum that is the weakest design they have I repair 3/4 of them a week. Build out of steel brace the hell out of them because the truck driver and loading docks do more damage than the motoring public

Novel idea. Have professional drivers teach drivers Ed and submit the students to the horrors of getting mangled and tangled by those killer trucks.

My daughter took driver’s Ed at Eisenhower High in Rialto,Ca.,they did not have a car to drive because they could no longer afford the liability insurance ! ! How many other school districts in our country are in the same boat ? How can you teach someone to drive when you have nothing to drive ?

How about educating and citing driver that follow to close. A clause called contributory negligence if applied to the person driving to close would solve issue over time. But you cant fix stupid. Or did 4 wheelers forget about drivers education training ????

Really simple answer- Park the trucks until the IDIOTS learn. No trucks moving=no four Wheelers moving.

If a car crashes into the back end of another car the one that hit the rear end is always at fault, so how is it if a car rear ends a semi the trucker is at fault. Call me stupid but that makes absolutely no sense

How about paying attention to the road. There’s absolutely no excuse to rear end a semi… It’s not like we stop that quickly!!!

All this vehicles are made out of plastic that’s why they go under the dot bumper off a semi number one they going too fast they’re not paying attention to the road so busy texting or watching or being distracted by something else stop now the one is still they have in the car is a frame or everything else is all aluminum and plastic


They don’t want the truth,just ask Ray Martinez ! When you do a lot of research and make recommendations and they tell you they don’t care how much research you did ,this is what we are going to do ! !

Washington DC in the state of Virginia think that they will be controlling the world of driving they’re going to take your steering wheel away pretty soon and your throttle and replace you with a computer All of this speed limiting is to make room for the automated driving! No freedom.

Drivers license should be like your hunting license, you should be able to bag two a year. Eventually the non drivers would be thined out.
I am not a truck driver. I simply observe everything around me and 95% of my time watch other drivers. I come from a small couny that should issue drivers license at wal-mart. One more thing, it is not your god given right to go slow in the left lane!

So why doesn’t the infrastructure bill or any of the suits(that have never even rode in a truck) have money set for a website for truckers to upload our videos of the 4wheelers(and other trucks) that drive so unsafe around us by cutting us…off slamming on brakes Infront of us… following too close…filling a space between trucks that need that space for following distace…ect, to this website and warnings sent to registered owners for first upload and incremental tickets for each of the following upload of such driving?!!! None of us are perfect but the 4wheelers are way more dangerous for us then we are for them!!!!

Well I agree in all safety matters…. it isn’t all about 4 wheelers ..and trailer drivers… what I can’t understand. Y do truckers cut off 4 wheelers. Y. It because of diesel fuel and speed that matters whether u make it up the hill or not that causes reckless truckers cutting us offfffff what up. Truckers. Be kind.. be safe. … we all have FAMILYs. So plz be kind to everyone ram yrselfs

Seriously these people need to see the affects of trucks being off the road for a couple weeks to have some insight of why we are out there working

Again taking responsibility from these 4-wheelers. They can continue to drive recklessly while us truck drivers have more regulations. Its about damn time more rules are put onto all other motorists. Truck drivers have enough rules and regulations to follow. Not to mention the responsibility we have to get from A to B and even C safe and efficient and fast.

As a commercial driver, I am getting fed up with the lack of attention paid to the passenger car vehicles and their drivers. The buck seems to always be passed onto the commercial vehicle. Here in Phoenix there is a stretch of I-10 for 23 miles that truck must remain in the right lane with no passing. 20% of the accidents involved tucks, so the natural course is to punish the truckers. They study never publish the majority of who was at fault but I’m sure it was more the passenger vehicle. Make the fines the same as a commercial vehicle fine and the correction with happen.

How about people stop playing with their phones and pay attention to where their going. Sorry no amount of bumper is going to fix stupid.

They probably should look into educating everyone that obtains a regular DL on commercial vehicles and how to drive around them. Many people don’t realize how dangerous they really are, they don’t even know their blind stops or the fact that you should not be driving next to a semi for long periods of time. Winds alone can make the best driver lose control and then the truck driver will be blamed-Always! They will say he was distracted. They preach to commercial drivers to keep their distance, yet no one talks or teaches regular DL holders the dangers of cutting off a heavy duty or even a medium duty vehicle. They give those DL away way too easy, to anyone that can breathe. Make it mandatory to learn and teach all about driving around commercial vehicles. Then, ban cell phones to everyone that is operating any type of a vehicle, not just commercial drivers! Most of those underride crashes happen because the other driver was distracted, yet somehow the commercial drivers or the trucking company are at fault or held liable to some extent…

What a joke let’s bust people in cars for being on there dam phones and ticket for going way over the speed limits . It’s a know brainer why people slam into trucks doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out . But let’s jack the prices up for trucking companies and then it goes on to us consumers.

J hi ow about teach people not to hit the back of a semi truck that is probably state mandated to go slower than the cars in the first place. How about teach car drivers to drive responsible not like idiots like there idol Biden.

Funny shit…. They want to govern trucks to a lower speed and improve DOT bumpers. It’s like they know what’s gonna happen more when they govern the trucks to low speeds. Every step we have made to improve safety, has made drivers more ignorant….. Hell, better foam underside of trailers…. Lol

What about school buses and class a motorhomes, they have about a 15 foot overhang and bumper is about 4 feet off the ground?

I have a simple fix, start making the cars out of REAL STEEL again instead of aluminum and thin ass steel. Cars and trucks back in the day had real bumpers, full frames and plenty of engine up front to absorb most of that impact.

Also start actually policing these idiots in four wheelers. It’s not my fault you wanna test your airbags at 55+ mph.

Hey. There’s bad semi drivers and bad 4 wheel drivers. I see both everyday. How about when a semi slams into a car from behind and crushes it into the semi in front. Chain reaction pileups with trucks crashing into/through stopped traffic are devastating. Countless videos out there. It’s not ALWAYS the car carelessly crashing into the back of a semi. Sometimes they have 100000 lbs pushing them.

How about they treat regular drivers with the same standards they treat cdl holders with. Like stricter licensing standards and test. Medical exams every two years. With stricter inspections of cars to see if they are safe to be on road. With higher fines for aggressive driving, speeding and tail gating like they do for cdl holders…..

Seems to me it shouldn’t be that hard – or expensive – to add some angle iron trusses to existing ICC bars the Dok-Loks latch onto, to make them strong enough to stop most cars from going underneath.

Just let nature take its course. If folks die, they die. No sense in mandating extra weight that limits gross weight and won’t even be effective above 30mph.