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ATA COMMENT ON THE REAR UNDERRIDE RULEMAKING

 ATA COMMENT ON THE REAR UNDERRIDE RULEMAKING
 /NOTE: Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) will hold


a news conference Thursday, April 30, on the status of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) rulemaking on rear underride guards. The American Trucking Associations offers the following comment on the issue./
 WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports any reasonable program to reduce underride accidents and injuries. This industry has maintained that position for more than 20 years and has participated in a positive manner in every rulemaking on this issue.
 In addition, ATA is working with private industry and the federal government in studies aimed at improving the visibility of trucks to prevent these accidents. We believe this holds the most promise for reducing death and serious injury as all of these accidents occur when a vehicle crashes into the back of a truck.
 Underride accidents are a serious issue. NHTSA reports that they cause 20 preventable deaths per year. Therefore, ATA supports and will fully comply with NHTSA's current proposed rule on the rear underride guard regulation. The proposed rule's dimensional requirements (the guard must be within 22 inches of the ground and 4 inches of the trailer sides) and strength requirements provide the most effective and efficient protection devisable. It is evident that NHTSA, after conducting years of exhaustive research, has determined the best compromise between the guard's rigidity and flexibility.
 Some relevant facts about the rear underride issue follow:
 FACTS ABOUT REAR UNDERRIDE
 -- Rear underride regulations have been in place since December 1952 (Title 49 C.F.R. 393.86).
 -- NHTSA estimates that there are 20 preventable underride fatalities per year.
 -- The trucking industry has actively participated in rear underride guard rulemakings for over 20 years and has never "fought off attempts" to address the issue.
 -- CRASH accuses the federal government of "25 years of disgraceful delay" on the underride issue. Yet, for four of those years (1976-1980), the current CRASH co-chairman was NHTSA's administrator.
 -- NHTSA's current proposed rulemaking is tougher and more effective than the rulemaking submitted by the CRASH co-chairman at the end of her tenure as NHTSA administrator, yet she claims it is "woefully inadequate."
 -- No rear underride guard can prevent death or serious injury when the car involved is traveling over 35 miles per hour.
 -- Trucks do not travel down the highway backwards. A truck is rarely at fault in a rear underride collision.
 -- Thirty-five to 45 percent of underride victims were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, according to studies by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute.
 -0- 4/29/92
 /CONTACT: John Doyle of the American Trucking Associations, Office of Public Affairs, 703-838-1912/ CO: American Trucking Associations ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU:


TW-DC -- DC018 -- 4382 04/29/92 12:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 29, 1992
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