Review of Truck Safety: Stage 1: Frontal, Side and Rear Underrun Protection

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #194 - 2002

Full report in .pdf format [1.5MB]

Authors:  J. Lambert & G. Rechnitzer


The aim of the project is to review and report on the issue of front, rear and side underrun crashes. In particular this was defined as to:

  • Review and collate the findings from major Australian studies examining underrun crashes involving heavy vehicles, including those that were carried out for VicRoads and FORS during the 1990s.
  • Carry out a literature review to identify any relevant overseas findings and developments subsequent to these studies including any existing or proposed design standards for underrun protection.
  • Produce an updated report on front rear and side underrun that could be used as the basis of a submission to the Federal Government, seeking the introduction of appropriate Australian Design Rules to address the issue of underrun.

Based on the work detailed above, it is recommended that design standards be as follows.

Force application point

FRONT underrun Rear underrun Side underrun
outer edges 400 kN 200 kN 1 kN
centre 200 100
intermediate 300 150
Allowed deflection as far as possible
and up to 600 mm energy absorbing
300-400 energy absorbing 30 in front of wheels, 300 elsewhere
Height 350 350 350
Style     smooth or flat panels only

Given consideration of levels of deceleration and the road users under threat, it is recommended that the requirements apply to all heavy vehicles and possibly as low as vehicles of 3 tonne GVM.

Sponsoring organisation: VicRoads