North America’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate side under-ride guards on trailers with a GVW rating above 10,000 lbs (ca. 4,500kg).
In a letter from 3 April, the NTSB cited a report by General Estimates System (GES), which said that 43,629 police-reported collisions occurred between 2005 and 2009 in which passenger vehicles collided with the sides of trailers, as well as a host of additional research.
The NTSB also asked the NHTSA to add the trailer VIN and trailer model year to its Fatality Analysis Reporting System database. “Although the majority of collisions involving the sides or rears of truck-trailers consist of impacts to the trailers, police reports provide less information for trailers than for other types of motor vehicles,” Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairman, wrote in her letter to NHTSA. “This is reflected in police accident report forms: few include spaces for the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate numbers of trailers. Also, the forms do not instruct police officers to fill in this information for trailers.
“When included in the accident report, the VIN can be decoded to indicate the trailer manufacturer, model year, and other trailer characteristics.”
According to the NTSB, “better data” is needed so that injuries and fatalities incurred in traffic accidents with trailers can be tracked more effectively by state and national traffic accident databases. “Trailer VINs and trailer model year information are necessary to detect risks associated with trailer designs and to evaluate the effectiveness of safety regulations for trailers.”