Passenger car occupants that are involved in a head-on collision with a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) remain the largest casualty group for accidents involving HGVs, and research into the mitigation of injury to this group is, therefore, a priority. EC Directive 2000/40/EC, effective since August 2003, introduced a requirement for all HGVs registered after this date to be fitted with rigid front underrun protection (FUP). This requirement was expected to reduce the number of fatal and serious casualties resulting from car to HGV head-on collisions.
This study has undertaken an analysis of STATS19, the national accident dataset, and the Heavy Vehicle Crash Injury Study (HVCIS) fatal accident database to investigate the actual real-world effect of fitment of FUP on accident outcome. The evidence available suggests that the mandatory fitment of FUP has not resulted in a reduction in the severity of car occupant casualties in collision with the front of HGVs, though it is not known whether this is because of inadequate data or a genuine lack of effect. Suggestions have been put forward for potential future work to better understand the reasons why FUP does not appear to be as effective as had been expected.

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