Poor Maintenance of Tractor Trailer Rear Guards

Poor Maintenance of Tractor Trailer Rear Guards

Rear guards on tractor trailers have proven effective in preventing accidents with smaller motor vehicles. However, these devices still have issues associated with them. Regardless of the number of safety features on a vehicle, car and truck accidents still occur. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, attorney Stewart J. Guss may be able to help.

Purpose of rear guards on commercial trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been working to prevent truck underride accidents by mandating that all tractor trailers be equipped with rear guards. The purpose of rear guards on tractor trailers is to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trailers in the event of an accident. These rear guards have been known to save numerous lives and are an essential safety feature.

Improper maintenance of rear guards

One of the main problems with rear guards on tractor trailers today is that they are not properly maintained. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests clearly show that many of the guards used on tractor trailers today are rusted out—so much so that you can almost see right through them. When a truck driver or a trucking company allow the rear guards to deteriorate this severely, they are no longer able to properly prevent fatal underride crashes—even when driving well below highway speeds.

In response to this issue, the American Trucking Association (ATA) is supporting the NHTSA’s plan to create tougher standards for rear guards in the United Standsstandards that are currently enforced in Canada.

However, the IIHS alleges that these increased standards are not sufficient, and that even the revised rules have holes in them, including the following:

  • Some non-tractor trailer trucks would still be permitted on the roads without rear guards
  • Trucking companies could be granted approval for rear guards without having to undergo crash tests

Additionally, according to some studies, even rear guards that adhere to the Canadian standards have their own set of issues—primarily with their effectiveness in crashes where the vehicle hits the rear guard at an angle, rather than head-on.

Contact a Houston truck accident attorney today

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, Attorney Stewart J. Guss may be able to help. To schedule a free consultation with a Houston truck accident lawyer, please call us at 800-898-4877 or contact us online today.