Understanding Side Underrun Protection

understanding Side Underrun Protection

An effective measure that trucking operators can implement to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users when sharing the road with heavy vehicles is understanding Side Underrun Protection (SUP), devices that reduce the chance of a cyclist or pedestrian falling under the wheels of a truck. Australian Trucking Association Chief Engineer, Bob Woodward, explains some of the issues.

Trucks play a vital role in transporting essential goods to communities across the country, and while we have obligations to keep compliant with truck laws and road rules, there is also a responsibility to ensure the safety of those whom we share the road with. 

In urban and metropolitan areas, trucks share the road with not only light vehicles, but also motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. 

An effective measure that trucking operators can implement to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users when sharing the road with heavy vehicles is Side Underrun Protection (SUP), devices that reduce the chance of a cyclist or pedestrian falling under the wheels of a truck. 

While not required by law, the Australian Trucking Association’s Industry Technical Council (ITC) advocates for the use of SUP devices and has developed a Technical Advisory Procedure (TAP) to guide operators on how they should be installed and maintained. 

As development in urban and metropolitan areas continues to grow, we are seeing prime contractors of many projects now mandating that suppliers of transport services provide equipment that is compliant with the requirements of our SUP TAP. 

They will only become required more and more. 

The first edition of this TAP was published in 2010 and provided guidance for trailers only. However, due to increasing demand for enhanced safety protection for vulnerable road users, in 2018 the ITC convened a working group to review the existing procedure and expand the SUP references to include trucks and prime movers. This working group consisted of ITC members, representing various parties in the supply chain including operators, suppliers and manufacturers.  

The review process included reviewing European regulation R73 before processing the requirements into a workable document that meets Australian operations and conditions. 

The updated procedure explains how to design and install this essential safety equipment and includes guidance about how to fit the devices to prime movers and rigid trucks, including construction trucks. 

The area of intended protection is primarily the side area of a vehicle where intrusion by a pedestrian or cyclist could result in their personal injury. However, it should be noted that any gap between a truck and trailer may not be able to be fully protected by SUP and could remain a potential risk. 

By installing SUP in accordance with our TAP, the installation would be deemed to comply with requirements in UN-ECE R73. 

Consistent with the ongoing development of TAPs to keep up with industry change, the SUP TAP is a document where clarifications or interpretations can be expanded. Feedback on the TAP is always welcome. 

Established in 1994, The ATA’s Industry Technical Council (ITC) is the trucking industry’s brains trust that solves issues and saves lives. Bringing together operators, suppliers, engineers and industry specialists, the ITC benefits its members and the trucking industry by raising technology and maintenance standards and improving the operational safety of the heavy vehicle industry.

Technical Advisory Procedures are published by the Australian Trucking Association to assist the road transport industry to improve technical and procedure standards. The TAPs are guides only, and use is entirely voluntary. Procedures may not be suitable for, or applicable, to all operators. Operators should consider their own circumstances, practices and procedures when using TAPs.

To view the Side Underrun Protection Technical Advisory Procedures and others, or to find out more about the Industry Technical Council. 

understanding Side Underrun Protection