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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Study of Truck Side Guards to Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities


To study existing literature on the efficacy of truck lateral protective devices (LPDs), also known as side guards, designed to reduce pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatalities.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 there were 5,977 pedestrians and 783 cyclists or pedalcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States (U.S.). Pedestrian deaths account for 16 percent and pedalcyclist deaths account for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Most of the pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatalities (75 percent) were in collisions with the front of passenger cars and light trucks. On an annual average there are 48 pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatalities (26 pedestrian and 22 pedalcyclist) in collisions with the left and right side of large trucks (single unit trucks (SUTs) and truck-trailers) in the U.S.

Truck LPDs are devices designed to keep pedestrians and bicyclists from being run over by a large truck’s rear wheels in side-impact collisions. LPDs have been required for trucks in Europe since 1989, and in the past 5 years, a few cities in the U.S., under Vision Zero initiatives, have begun requiring LPDs on city-owned and city-contracted single unit trucks. No Federal requirements for LPDs on large trucks currently exist in the United States, but city jurisdictions and private fleets have implemented LPDs designed in accordance with specifications developed by Volpe in 2016, resulting in approximately 3,000 installations through mid-2018. However, it is not possible to provide an estimate of lives saved in the U.S. by LPDs due to the lack of published U.S. LPD effectiveness data.


Studies in other countries, however, are available. This research product contains a literature review of regulations and effectiveness studies in other countries. The effectiveness estimates from studies in other countries cannot be applied to the U.S.—in part because of different regulatory and infrastructure environments—but the review still provides a glimpse into over three decades of international LPD deployment, and this may support future study of LPDs in the U.S. Possible audiences for this literature review include Federal, State, or local regulatory agencies, motor carriers, safety advocacy groups, trucking industry associations, and truck or trailer manufacturers.


Final report.



September 2017: Draft literature review completed
January 2018: Draft vehicle part interactions report due
July 2018: Draft cost-benefit analysis report due
January 2019: Draft final report due
February 2019: Final report due


FY17 Funding: $200,000

Current Status:

The final report is published and can be read here:


John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center