Manac Inc., Canada’s largest manufacturer of custom-built and specialty semitrailers, has announced that the Manac dry van passed the underride guard crash tests recently held by the USA “Insurance Institute for Highway Safety” (IIHS) with flying colors. Engineers from the IIHS put semitrailers from the eight largest manufacturers through a series of progressively tougher crash tests, but only the Manac semitrailer passed the most challenging 30 percent test, used by the IIHS because it represents the minimum overlap under which a passenger vehicle occupant’s head is likely to strike a semitrailer if an underride guard fails.
Most semitrailers are required to have an underride guard, the steel bar that hangs from the backs of trailers to prevent the front of a passenger vehicle from moving underneath the trailer during a crash. All of the trailers tested by the IIHS had underride guards that met both U.S. and Canadian standards that require a guard to withstand a certain amount of force at various points.
In each crash test, a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu struck a parked truck at 35 mph. In the first scenario, the car was aimed at the center of the trailer and all eight guards successfully prevented underride. In the second test, in which the car only overlapped with half of the trailer, all but one trailer passed.
But when the overlap was reduced to 30 percent, Manac was the only trailer to pass this test. Not only did the Malibu and the dummy inside the vehicle fare much better, the trailer also had the lowest damage estimates among all tested trailers. There was no damage whatsoever to the box, which differs significantly in design from any other make and simply required the replacement of the underride guard which, unlike competitor models, is bolted. With other trailers, the dry van box integrity was affected and required a significantly higher repair budget.
“Our tests suggest that meeting the stronger Canadian standard is a good first step, but Manac shows it’s possible to go much further,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. “If trailer manufacturers can make guards that do a better job of protecting passenger vehicle occupants while also promising lower repair costs for their customers, that’s a win-win. While we’re counting on the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to come up with a more effective regulation, we hope that in the meantime trailer buyers take note of our findings and insist on stronger guards.”