Truck Bumper Regulations

About a decade ago, many manufacturers started what was known as “the most comprehensive voluntary safety initiative ever undertaken by automakers.” The initiative was aimed at bumper re-design and side-impact improvements. But, why was re-designing bumpers a big deal to automakers? And, why would automakers be willing to spend so much money on voluntary safety measures? The answer is simple: they were under extreme pressure to modify a growing epidemic of auto related deaths.

truckWho wouldn’t be afraid if this was coming right at them?
Crashes between Trucks/SUVS and Cars

In the early 2000s, automakers strategized and designed new bumpers that would inflict less damage in crashes with cars. The voluntary initiative started by automakers was done in response to statistics that showed a shocking trend of death in auto accidents. These statistics were primarily provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and showed:

  • For crashes between light trucks and cars during 2001, 2008 occupants of cars died compared to only 28 deaths for the occupants of trucks.

  • For head-on collisions between light trucks and cars during 2001, 1,365 occupants of cars died compared to only 375 deaths for the occupants of trucks.
This discrepancy shouldn’t have been too shocking because trucks are significantly bigger and weigh a great deal more than cars. Designing new styles of bumpers was one of the first attempts to minimize the dangers on the road. Now, newer research has shown that there’s something more that comes into play.

truck bumperThe Metal Mulisha Truck Bumper from 4 Wheel Online fits into the existing factory bumper mounts and is a perfect example of how the products at 4 Wheel are designed to stay in compliance with the law.
Bumper Height

Recent research has indicated that higher bumper heights have directly contributed to the high death rate of car occupants. In an article published earlier this year based on findings from an Accident Analysis and Prevention study, writer Ralph Zanfardino stated, “Overall, occupants of cars that crashed with SUVs or pickups with height-matching bumpers may be at slightly reduced risk of death compared to those that crashed with other SUVs or pickups. Likewise, occupants of SUVs and pickups with height-matching bumpers may also be at slightly reduced risk of death.”

It’s the LAW

Because of all these different facts, bumper height is an issue that has been taking up more attention around the country. Currently, 37 states have varying restrictions on a vehicle’s bumper height. One of the strictest states is Delaware. Their law says:

  • No passenger vehicle or station wagon shall be registered or operated upon any highway of the state if the bumper height exceeds 22 inches from the ground to the bottom of the bumper.
Others have much lighter restrictions, like Kentucky:

  • Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted, provided Driver’s vision is not obscured.
Before you purchase an aftermarket bumper, you’re going to want to check out the laws that apply ion your state. Here at 4 Wheel Online, we offer a wide variety of aftermarket bumpers that have been built with safety in mind and are sure to give you exactly what you’ll need, no matter what laws and restrictions you may face.

By: Tim Snyder
Posted on September 5th, 2013
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