Current regulations require the fitment of sideguards, and front and rear underrun protection to new goods vehicles and trailers over certain weights. The front and rear underrun protection is to prevent cars that collide with the goods vehicle running under the structure of the larger vehicle. The sideguards are designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists from falling under the vehicle wheels, rather than prevent underrun from other vehicles, although they do provide some protection against this.
Regulations also require the fitment of spray suppression equipment to goods vehicles. These devices consist of wheel guards, mudflaps and matting.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned TRL Limited (TRL) to investigate the benefits of taking an integrated approach to these topics. If further improvements to these systems are considered individually the improvements in each area may appear small. However, an integrated approach to the design of the front, rear and side of HGVs may yield much greater combined benefits at less cost than considering the elements individually.
The main objectives for the study were to assess the benefits of integrating front, side and rear underrun protection in terms of:
Improved protection for other road users in collision with an HGV.
Allowing the use of improved aerodynamics to control spray emission in wet conditions, including the development of a regulatory test procedure.
Improved fuel efficiency as a result of improved aerodynamics.
The work on safety guards in the study focussed more on side protection than front or rear because improvements to these features were being considered in a parallel study commissioned by the European Commission (EC): Vehicle Crash Compatibiity (VC_COMPAT).
TRL Report PPR075 presents the detailed results and conclusions provided by the holistic approach used in the project.
This report contains a Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment, completed according to Cabinet Office Guidelines. A number of regulatory options are considered based on the results of the project, along with their associated costs and benefits.

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