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Improved Truck Trailers Still Capable of Killing Drivers

Mar 14, 2013

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that heavy-duty truck trailers fall short in preventing devastating head injuries that kill hundreds of car drivers each year in rear-end collisions.

In a report released on March 13, 2013 the IIHS says seven of eight trailers failed tougher crash tests designed to simulate what happens when a car catches a trailer at a glancing blow, Bloomberg News reports. Trucks in the United States and Canada are required to have guards underneath trailers to prevent cars from sliding beneath them during a collision.

All eight companies’ trailers passed an easier crash test, simulating a straight-on car-truck crash, Bloomberg News reports. Manac Inc., based in Saint-Georges, Quebec, was the only one of the eight companies whose trailer design was strong enough to pass the IIHS’s stricter crash tests. Potentially fatal injuries to crash-test dummies were seen in collisions with trailers made by Hyundai Translead Inc., a subsidiary of Seoul-based Hyundai Motor Co.; Wabash National Corp.; Great Dane Trailers Inc.; Stoughton Trailers Inc.; Strick Corp.; Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co.; and Vanguard National Trailer Corp.

In 2011, 260 of 2,241 car passengers killed in large truck crashes died after the fronts of their vehicles struck the back of a trailer, the insurance institute said. The IIHS reports that Canada toughened its regulations to make the guards stronger, and manufacturers have re-engineered their trailers to spread the guard supports further apart, Bloomberg News said. According to the IIHS, this adds about $20 to the trailer’s cost.

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