Recently the FMCSA has announced that rear impact trailer guardrails have been added as a requirement for annual FMCSA inspections.
The change is to the FMCSA’s 396 section, which deals with all things inspection and maintenance.
Failure to have properly-approved rear guardrails on a trailer will not result in an out-of-service declaration but can result in fines of up to $15,876.
Proponents for the new guardrail regulation include the following:
- American Trucking Associations (ATA)
- National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
- National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
- Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
- Government Accountability Office (GAO)
- Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA)
- Truckload Carriers Association
- Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys
- Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
- Institute for Safer Trucking
- Law Firm for Truck Safety
The GAO suggested to the FMCSA to make this a new regulation when, in its research, it found an unhealthily high percentage of inspected trailers in 2017 either had guardrails in unacceptable condition or missing altogether.
The FMCSA loves regulation more than bees love flowers, but we think this is the best thing the FMCSA has created so far.
Any video comparing the damage done comparing strong to faulty guardrails shows just how pertinent a well-conditioned rear guardrail is for any braking trucker. Video
What is Next
The Infrastructure Bill of 2021 contains more than just spending on roads and bridges, it includes research on the effectiveness of side guardrails that may lead to them becoming required as well.
If you plan to revamp a trailer to fulfill the newest regulations, getting guardrails on the side might help make your trailer future-proof, and is also generally a good idea for safety purposes.