October 1, 2004

Canadian government to mandate stronger rear transport-trailer guards

Ottawa, Ontario – The Canadian government will require trailer manufacturers to build stronger rear impact guards to better protect people in vehicles involved in rear-end collisions with transport trailers.

The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations announced on Thursday by Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre will require large, newly manufactured transport trailers to be equipped with rear impact guards to prevent vehicles from sliding under the rear of the trailer in rear-end collisions. This type of accident is estimated to be responsible for over 20 fatalities and more than 100 injuries in Canada each year.

“The amended regulations are expected to decrease the number of rear impact fatalities by 25 to 40 per cent, and make our roads even safer,” said Mr. Lapierre.

“Compact and sub-compact vehicles represent approximately 35 per cent of passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles in Canada. As occupants of these vehicles account for almost half the deaths that occur in rear-end collisions of passenger vehicles with transport trailers, this new amendment will enhance safety and protect the occupants of smaller vehicles in Canada,” added Mr. Lapierre.

Most transport trailers in Canada are already equipped with rear impact guards due to existing requirements in certain provinces and the United States. However, amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations will require trailers to have a stronger rear impact guard than that required by the provinces and the United States. The new requirement will apply to newly manufactured trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms or more. Trailers with a low chassis or those whose wheels or structure prevent or limit underride will not be affected.

The majority of fatal rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle strikes the rear of a trailer at a speed which differs from that of the trailer by over 48 km/h. The amended regulations will enforce additional strength tests to help ensure that the rear impact guard stays in place in higher speed collisions.

The amendments will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on October 6, 2004, and will take effect one year later.

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