Trailer side-underride-guard rule could bump costs $3K

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, April 20, 2023:

NHTSA moving forward with trailer side underride reg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), signaling it will forge ahead with rulemaking that would require trailers be equipped with side underride guards. That begins with studying side underride guards and establishing an advisory committee.

NHTSA estimated that there are annually 89 fatalities and 409 serious injuries to light-vehicle occupants in two-vehicle crashes with tractor-trailers where the smaller vehicles strikes the side of a tractor-trailer and underrides it. In its notice published Tuesday, NHTSA estimates that an annual 17.2 lives would be saved and 69 serious injuries would be prevented annually when all trailers are equipped with side underride guards.

The ANPRM responds in part to a September 2013 petition for rulemaking to start studies and rulemakings on side underride guards and also comes in response to a directive in 2021 infrastructure package of legislation that directs the DOT to complete research on side underride guards to better understand their overall effectiveness and assess the feasibility, benefits, and costs. Included in that as is impact assessments for intermodal equipment, freight mobility, and freight capacity associated with installing side underride guards on new trailers. The legislation also directed DOT to report the findings in a Federal Register notice to seek public comment. 

NHTSA currently specifies requirements for rear impact guards on trailers but there are currently no federal requirements for side underride guards. 

NHTSA's advance notice says side underride guards could add more than 800 pounds to the trailer and upward of $3,000 in additional cost, and laid out membership for its 16-person Advisory Committee on Underride Protection, which will make recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on safety regulations related to underride crashes.

They are: Marianne Karth and Jane Mathis to represent families of underride crash victims; Harry Adler and Jennifer Tierney to represent truck safety organizations; Lee Jackson and Aaron Kiefer to represent motor vehicle crash investigators; Adrienne Gildea to represent law enforcement; Daniel McKisson to represent labor organizations; Jeff Bennett and Jeff Zawacki to represent motor vehicle engineers; Matthew Brumbelow and Claire Mules to represent the insurance industry; Dan Horvath and Doug Smith to represent motor carriers, including independent owner-operators; and John Freiler and Kristin Glazner to represent truck and trailer manufacturers.

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The ANPRM has not yet been published in the Federal Register. Once it is published, the agency will accept for 60 days comments "that would help NHTSA assess and make judgments on the benefits, costs, and other impacts of side underride guards to increase protection for occupants of passenger vehicles in crashes into the sides of trailers and semitrailers."

Concert benefiting St. Christopher Fund set for Saturday

Singer-songwriter Levi Hummon will headline the Highway to Hope fundraising concert for the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund on Saturday night, April 22, at the Cotton Eyed Joe nightclub in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The concert is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the concert are available for $20 in advance, available here, and $25 at the door. All proceeds from the concert aid the St. Christopher Fund, which supports truck drivers in need.

In addition to the regular tickets, a VIP ticket is available for a show before the main concert for $99. The VIP concert will feature a performance by the Lindsay Lawler Band and special guest Dave Nemo of RadioNemo.

The VIP pre-show concert is scheduled from 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern. The VIP ticket includes food, two drink tickets, and the private concert. Tickets to the VIP concert can be purchased here.

This is the second Highway to Hope concert. The inaugural concert raised more than $75,000 to help support professional over-the-road and regional drivers recently out of work because of an injury or illness.

[Related: One Wyoming funeral home, seven drivers: Dispatch from a Truckers Final Mile benefit at MATS]

Lighting manufacturer Grote acquires Star Headlight & Lantern Co.

Grote Industries announced April 17 it has acquired Star Headlight & Lantern Co., Inc., which will become part of the newly created Star Safety Technologies by Grote, a holding company wholly owned by Grote.

Founded in 1889, Star has a long history of providing quality lighting products to a variety of industries, including the rail, amber light, and emergency lighting markets. Under this new ownership, Star Safety Technologies will continue to support these markets while benefitting from the combined resources and expertise of the two companies to innovate and grow.        

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