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IIHS test shows tractor-trailer underride guards often failPosted On Fri, March 4, 2011
New crash tests reveal that tractor-trailers on the roadways today are not as safe as they could be, especially for motorists traveling behind them.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, rear guards on tractor-trailers, built to prevent cars from being trapped underneath the bed of the trailer should it be rear-ended, can fail in relatively low-speed crashes.
"Hitting the back of a large truck is a game changer," said Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS. "You might be riding in a vehicle that earns top marks in frontal crash tests, but if the truck's underride guard fails … your chances of walking away from even a relatively low-speed crash aren't good."
After performing a series of tests on the 2010 Chevy Mailbu, a top safety pick of IIHS, three of the crashes led to the dummy's head making contact with the rear-end of the trailer after tearing off the roof of the car.
Lund says underride standards have fallen behind; only regulation will lead to manufacturers' installing stronger guards.
The results of crash tests give auto insurance companies a better idea of how models will fare in accidents.
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