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From Products Liability Law Daily, July 20, 2015

NHTSA issues ANPRM regarding rear crash protection for single unit trucks

By John Dumoulin

An advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) focusing on rear underride crash protection and visibility of single unit trucks has been issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as the agency’s first step in a larger initiative to upgrade the standards for truck and trailer underride crash protection, according to an agency release. The ANPRM requests comments on the agency’s estimated costs and benefits of requirements for rear impact (underride) guards on new single unit trucks (SUTs) and for reflective material on the rear and sides of these vehicles. NHTSA said that it plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on requirements for rear impact guards on trailers later this year. Comments on the ANPRM are due with 60 days of the document’s publication in the Federal Register (NHTSA Press Release, No. 37-15, July 17, 2015).

According to the agency, the rear impact guards would provide underride protection to vehicle occupants when their vehicles crash into the rear of trucks, and the reflective material would improve the visibility of these vehicles to other motorists and help drivers avoid such crashes. The agency estimates that a requirement for rear impact guards on SUTs could save five lives and prevent 30 injuries each year. NHTSA estimates that it would cost about $669 million to equip approximately 342,000 vehicles. NHTSA said that a requirement for reflective tape on SUTs could save up to 14 lives per year and would cost approximately $30 million per year to equip approximately 579,000 new SUTs.

The agency said that SUTs are trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds with no trailer. They are primarily straight trucks, in which the engine, cab, drive train, and cargo area are mounted on one chassis, and they are often designed to form a specific task. Common examples of SUTs listed by the agency include dump trucks, garbage haulers, concrete mixers, tank trucks, trash trucks, and local delivery trucks.

The ANPRM was issued following a July 10, 2014, grant of a petition for rulemaking regarding possible amendments to the federal motor vehicle safety standards relating to rear impact guards [see Products Liability Law Daily’s July 10, 2014 analysis].

MainStory: TopStory MotorVehiclesNews

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