Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Rear Impact Guards and Rear Impact Protection
The FHWA is amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to require that certain trailers and semitrailers with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds) or more, and manufactured on or after January 26, 1998, be equipped with rear impact guards that meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223. The rear impact guards must be installed to ensure that the trailer or semitrailer meets the rear impact protection requirements of FMVSS No. 224. This rulemaking is intended to ensure that the rear impact protection requirements of the FMCSRs are consistent with the FMVSSs and to improve the safety of operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by reducing the incidence of passenger compartment intrusion during underride accidents in which the passenger vehicle strikes the rear of the trailer. With regard to trailers and semitrailers manufactured before January 26, 1998, motor carriers are not required to retrofit a rear impact guard that conforms to FMVSS No. 223. However, motor carriers operating these trailers and semitrailers are required to continue complying with the FHWA's requirements for rear end protection on CMVs that are not covered by FMVSSs Nos. 223 and 224.