WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has formed a new 16-member advisory committee on tractor-trailer underride protection in an effort to better protect passengers of smaller vehicles during crashes.
According to a news release, the committee will make recommendations to the secretary of transportation on safety regulations related to underride crashes that have caused severe injury and death.
NHTSA is also publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to consider requirements for side underride guards. Impact guards are designed to absorb energy and prevent a passenger vehicle involved in a crash with a large truck or trailer from sliding under the impacted trailer, which causes severe injuries and fatalities.
This advisory committee on underride protection fulfills a requirement set forth in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is a key part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. The strategy, launched last year to address the increase in roadway fatalities that has occurred in the last few years, outlines multiple agency actions focused on safety, from policy and regulation, to increased investments in road design.
“Safety is at the core of everything we do,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said. “The selection and establishment of this committee is a step forward in saving lives and fulfilling the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This committee will inform future actions and ensure that key stakeholders have a seat at the table on this important issue.”
Members of the committee were selected for their expertise, training or experience in related trucking and transportation safety areas, as well as law enforcement.
The 16 members selected to serve on the committee are: Marianne Karth and Jane Mathis to represent families of underride crash victims; Harry Adler and Jennifer Tierney to represent truck safety organizations; Lee Jackson and Aaron Kiefer to represent motor vehicle crash investigators; Adrienne Gildea to represent law enforcement; Daniel McKisson to represent labor organizations; Jeff Bennett and Jeff Zawacki to represent motor vehicle engineers; Matthew Brumbelow and Claire Mules to represent the insurance industry; Dan Horvath and Doug Smith to represent motor carriers, including independent owner-operators; and John Freiler and Kristin Glazner to represent truck and trailer manufacturers.
In addition to establishing the advisory committee, NHTSA is publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comments on approaches to potentially mitigate or eliminate side underride motor vehicle crashes. This rulemaking also summarizes and seeks comment on NHTSA’s research and analysis of the potential effects of a safety requirement for side underride guards on new trailers and semitrailers, which responds to a provision in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Click here to learn more about the rulemaking process.
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