Proposed U.S. law aims to prevent underride crashes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Senate bill sponsored from members on both sides of the aisle is calling for mandatory impact guards on the side and front of trucks, as well as upgraded rear-guards in the United States.

NBC News is reporting the Stop Underrides Act, introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Rep. Steve Cohen, would prevent passenger vehicles from being crushed underneath heavy-duty commercial vehicles in a collision.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) currently recommends side guards, but they are not yet mandatory. More than 200 people are killed in the U.S. every year as a result of a crash involving a side underride impact.

Rear guards have been mandatory since 1998 in the U.S. These ICC bumpers – also known as Mansfield bars after the actress Jayne Mansfield, who was decapitated in a collision nearly 50 years ago – would be improved under the proposed legislation.

Recent testing by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed fatalities are possible with underride accidents at even just 56 kilometers per hour, while side guards can greatly reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury.

The bill was introduced after lobbying by two U.S. families who lost children in underride crashes last summer.

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