When cars collide with goods vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes maximum permissible gross weight (HGVs) there is a fundamental incompatibility between their structures. This has been recognised as a safety concern for a long time as the energy-absorbing structural parts of the car (at about bumper level) are unlikely to interact with any structural parts of the HGV until they meet the rear suspension or wheels. By this time the load deck of the HGV, which is higher than the car front bumper and typically substantially overhangs the rear axle of the HGV, may well have intruded into the car’s passenger compartment, which has little structural strength, with resulting potential for serious and fatal occupant injury.
The fitment of rear underrun protection (RUP) to most HGVs was intended to solve this problem and has been a requirement in the UK (and most of the rest of the EU) for a considerable time.
This study undertook a review of the UK evidence relating to the effectiveness of existing RUP. The study concluded that the technical requirements for RUP are not adequate to fully engage the crash structures of current passenger cars and to fully utilise their safety performance. A number of policy options were proposed for consideration.

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