OOIDA says GAO report confirms facts don’t back underride mandate

June 2019

Mark Schremmer


In response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 46-page report on truck underride guards, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the facts don’t justify a mandate.

OOIDA, which is opposed to the Stop Underrides Act, was one of the dozens of stakeholders who participated in the report.

“As part of the report, OOIDA conveyed to GAO that there’s not enough data to justify what the Stop Underrides Act would mandate on virtually every tractor-trailer in the United States,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs. “OOIDA has never been opposed to practical and cost-effective solutions that improve highway safety, but the Stop Underrides Act doesn’t fit in either category.”

The report, which was released on April 15, made four recommendations:

  • The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should help provide a standardized definition of underride crashes and to include underride as a recommended data field.
  • The NHTSA administrator should provide information to state and local police departments on how to identify and record underride crashes.
  • The administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should revise the agency’s regulations to require that rear guards are inspected during commercial vehicle annual inspections.
  • The NHTSA administrator should conduct additional research on side underride guards to better understand the overall effectiveness and cost associated with these guards and, if warranted, develop standards for their implementation.

Other key findings from the report include that about 95% of all newly manufactured trailers already meet the proposed requirements for rear guards, and that manufacturers told GAO that they would be unlikely to move forward with the development of side underride guards without research that determines the effectiveness and cost of the guards.

In March, lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the Stop Underrides Act, which would require tractor-trailers to have underride guards on the sides and front. According to the GAO report, less than 1% of the total number of traffic fatalities from 2008 through 2017 involved underride crashes.

OOIDA has called a mandate of underride guards costly and impractical. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.