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OOIDA opposes costly underride mandate proposal

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposes legislation to mandate underride guards on all sides of commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds. OOIDA says such requirements cannot be accommodated on most trucking equipment and would yield little if any safety benefit, while costing truckers billions to comply.

The Association more fully outlined its practical concerns in recent letters sent to elected officials.

OOIDA had previously opposed the same effort a year ago, particularly the requirements for putting side and front underride guards on all trucks and trailers retroactively.

“There is no assurance that such installations would result in fewer or less severe crashes involving heavy vehicles,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer.

The Association is aware that for several decades the federal government has considered numerous proposed rules involving underride guards, but consistently concluded that the costs and impracticality would far outweigh perceived benefits to safety.

“Nothing has changed over these years,” Spencer said. “Proponents of this effort have given little consideration to the impact that front and side underride guards would have on the daily operations of truckers. Truck drivers would face serious challenges navigating grade crossings, high curbs and numerous other road conditions. Additionally, no front underride equipment is currently on the market because the concept lacks any practicality.”

Similar to original efforts last year, two newly introduced bills, HR 1511 and S 665, also seek updates to existing regulations for rear underride guards. The Association does not object to this portion of the proposals.

“We agree that the underride guards on the backs of trailers could be improved,” said Spencer. “But the proposals as written go too far in broadly, retroactively requiring them on all trucks and trailers. Trucking is a diverse industry and such devices just simply can’t be attached to all types of equipment.”

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