NHTSA denies petition on rear-impact guard labels

January 27, 2023

Mark Schremmer


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will continue to require certification labels to be placed on rear-impact guards.

In a notice that is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 30, NHTSA denied a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to remove the label requirement from the regulations.

“The agency is denying the petition, because the requested amendment would compromise the enforcement of the rear-impact guard standard,” NHTSA wrote in the notice. “Limiting the ability to identify noncompliant products would reduce the effectiveness of the standard and increase the safety risk to the motoring public.”

CVSA petitioned the agency in 2019, asking for a rulemaking that would amend the regulations regarding rear-impact guards, which are required on trailers in hopes of reducing the risk to passenger vehicle occupants during rear-end crashes.

“(The requirement) is resulting in the citation for rear-impact guards that otherwise meet the physical requirements and have no negative impact on safety,” CVSA wrote in the petition.

In addition, CVSA argued that the certification labels frequently wear, fade or are removed during repair.

“Motor carriers are unable to obtain new certification labels from the original trailer manufacturers because they can no longer guarantee that the rear-impact guard meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard,” the group wrote. “There are no reasonable options to meet the certification requirements.”

CVSA also said that removing the label requirement would “eliminate confusion and inconsistency in enforcement.”

The agency said there are ways to avoid the labels fading or being removed.

“NHTSA has considered the assertion that compliance labels wear, fade or are removed and does not believe that this indicates a current compliance issue with the requirements,” the agency wrote. “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223 specified permanent labeling of the rear impact guard on the forward or rearward facing surface of the horizontal member of the guard. NHTSA does not specify a particular means (labeling, etching, branding, stamping or embossing) by which the manufacturer must achieve permanency.” LL