A new video of crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show how underride guards can prevent passenger vehicles from going underneath the side of a tractor trailer in a collision. Check out the video below*.
The crash tests marked the first time that IIHS has evaluated side underride guards. IIHS reportedly ran two 35-mph crash tests. The first test involved a tractor-trailer with side underride protection device. The second test involved a tractor-trailer fiberglass side skirt intended to improve aerodynamics, not to prevent underride.
In both crash tests, a midsize car struck the center of a 53-foot-long dry van trailer. In the first crash test shown in the video, the car ran into the trailer with no underride guard for protection and kept going underneath it. The impact sheared off part of the roof, and the car became wedged beneath the trailer. In a real-world crash, any occupants in the car would likely sustain fatal injuries.
In the second crash test, the tractor-trailer’s side underride guard did not allow the car to go underneath the trailer, and the car’s airbags and safety belt properly restrained the test dummy in the driver seat. A side underride guard would likely prevent the worst damage and injuries.
IIHS reports that in 2015, 301 of the 1,542 passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes with a tractor-trailer died when their vehicles struck the side of a tractor-trailer. Federal law requires large trucks to have rear underride guards but not side underride guards.
Read my prior post about side guard safety technology here.
*Special thanks to IIHS for letting us include their video in this post.*