FMCSA Says Rear Underride Guard Inspections Will Soon Be Mandatory
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon require mandatory annual inspection of rear underride guards.
This week during the Agency’s Truck Safety Summit, Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy, informed attendees the FMCSA is moving forward with regulatory action on rear underride guard inspections.
“We expect to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to make rear underride part of the annual inspection that’s required on commercial motor vehicles (CMV),” Minor stated.
In April of 2019. the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to begin requiring rear guards to be inspected during commercial vehicle annual inspections.
The report entitled, “Truck Underride Guards: Improved Data Collections, Research and Inspections Needed,” recommends four actions DOT should take in an effort to reduce underride crashes and the fatalities resulting from them.
“Although tractor-trailers are inspected, FMCSA annual inspection regulations do not require the rear guard to be inspected, so damaged guards that could fail in a crash may be on the roadways,” the report stated.
An underride crash is defined by the GAO as “when a passenger vehicle slides under the body of a tractor-trailer or ‘single-unit truck.’”
The report concludes, “The lack of specific requirements that rear guards be inspected annually for defects or damage potentially affects the safety of the traveling public and FMCSA’s ability to achieve its safety mission.”
Meanwhile, safety advocates continue pushing for the mandatory adoption of both side and front underride guards.
Legislative measures were introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2019 that would require all tractor-trailers to be equipped with front and side underride guards.
However, the legislation stalled after multiple trucking groups including the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) fiercely argued against it on Capitol Hill.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the issue and update you when FMCSA publishes its expected NPRM.