FMCSA To Require Rear Underride Guards To Be Inspected Each Year
Washington D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is adding rear underride guards to the list of items that must be examined as part of the required annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
In a Federal Register notice, the Agency said the final rule requiring a mandatory yearly inspection of rear impact guards will become effective 30 days from this Tuesday.
In addition, the FMCSA is also amending the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and excluding road construction controlled (RCC) horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.
The final rule came in response to recommendations made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In April of 2019, the GAO issued a report entitled, “Truck Underride Guards: Improved Data Collections, Research and Inspections Needed,” urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to begin requiring rear guards to be inspected during commercial vehicle annual inspections.
“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,” the report concluded.
Most industry stakeholders do not oppose the Agency’s decision to begin yearly inspections of rear guards, but continue to push back on proposed measures which would require all CMVs to be equipped with front and side underride guards.
The issue is not going away any time soon as Congress just approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which could pave the way for a front and/or side underride guard mandate.
Specifically, the legislation provides for the creation of an advisory committee “to provide advice and recommendations to the [USDOT] secretary on safety regulations to reduce underride crashes and fatalities relating to underride crashes.”