Pennsylvania bill would mandate side underride guards
March 14, 2019
If one Pennsylvania state legislator gets his way, some commercial trucks and trailers throughout the state would be required to use side underride guard systems.
Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia, has introduced a bill to mandate that large trucks and their trailers come equipped with the underride systems.
Cruz cited a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration require side underride systems be equipped on new trailers with gross vehicle weight ratings more than 10,000 pounds. Additionally, the agency recommended that new truck-tractors with gross vehicle weight ratings more than 26,000 pounds come equipped with the underride system.
In a memo to fellow House lawmakers, Cruz wrote that the bill would “simply codify the NTSB recommendation into law.”
Cruz notes that underride guards are mandated on trucks operating in multiple countries, including the European Union and United Kingdom. He adds that the cities of Boston and New York are working to equip city-owned vehicles with the systems.
He said the systems would help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from truck-car collisions.
The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association has said there are important economic and technological challenges that must be solved in any effort to require side impact guards on trailers.
The group, an international trade association representing truck-pulled trailers manufactured in the United States, points out that crash avoidance technologies for passenger vehicles is a more viable solution.
The bill, HB461, is in the House Transportation Committee.
Efforts underway in Congress also cover a requirement for underride guards on the sides and front of tractor-trailers operating throughout the nation.
The Stop Underrides Act would require affected trucks to have underride guards in place.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed to the proposed mandate. The Association says the legislation “intentionally disregards reality and ignores the safety, economic and operational concerns” that a mandate would create.