FMCSA rear impact guard inspection proposal comments due March 1

February 26, 2021

Mark Schremmer


The deadline to comment on FMCSA’s proposal to make rear impact guards part of the annual inspection will go through Monday, March 1.

In December, the FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require rear guards to be examined as part of a commercial motor vehicle’s annual inspection list. As part of the proposal, FMCSA also would alter the labeling requirements for rear impact guards and exclude road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.

The rear impact guard proposal is in response to a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as well as a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office.

“While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have required rear impact guards for more than 65 years, they are not included on the list of components … that must be inspected during the annual commercial motor vehicle inspection,” FMCSA wrote in the notice. “This means that a vehicle can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.”

FMCSA also noted that the rear impact guard requirement has been included for 65 years, which leads the agency “to assume that the majority of motor carriers inspect rear impact guards annually despite the absence of an explicit requirement to do so.” Out of the 5.8 million regulatory violations identified in 2017, FMCSA said only 2,400 – or 0.041% – were rear impact guard violations.


In 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration amended its labeling requirement to allow the rear impact guard certification label to be mounted on either the forward or rearward facing surface of the horizontal member of the guard as long as the label does not interfere with the retroreflective sheeting. FMCSA wants to align its labeling requirements with the changes NHTSA made in 2004.

Rear-impact guard comments

Comments can be made through Monday, March 1, by going to the website and entering Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0211. LL


Other federal news covered by Land Line: