Mandatory labels on truck rear impact guards wear out and fall off. NHTSA rejects CVSA proposal to address this problem.


On January 30, 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a petition for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) regarding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223, “Rear Impact Guards.”[1] The regulation provides that each guard shall be permanently labeled with information verifying that the equipment meets FMVSS standards.[2]

On March 12, 2019 the CVSA submitted a petition for rulemaking to repeal labeling requirements for rear impact guards.

The CVSA provided three primary reasons behind the request:

  1. The certification label requirement “is resulting in the citation of rear impact guards that otherwise meet the physical requirements and have no negative impact on safety.”
  2. “Certification labels frequently wear, fade or are removed during repair,” and that “motor carriers are unable to obtain new certification labels from the original trailer manufacturers because they can no longer guarantee that the rear impact guard meets the FMVSS manufacturing standard.”
  3. Removing the certification label requirement would “eliminate confusion and inconsistency in enforcement,” which CVSA states would be beneficial, “while not negatively impacting safety as the physical components of the guard will still be inspected to the same standard during a roadside inspection.”

NHTSA received nine comments on this petition.

In rejecting the petition, NHTSA stated that CVSA’s proposed rule change could reduce the safety provided by rear impact guards on trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA has considered the assertion that compliance labels “wear, fade or are removed during repair,” but the agency does not believe that this indicates a current compliance issue with the rear impact guard requirements. NHTSA maintains its long-standing position that removing a labeling requirement from the FMVSS limits the ability of enforcement to identify products that do not meet all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards and, therefore, would compromise the enforceability of those standards.

NHTSA did not suggest any alternate remedy to address the issues raised by CVSA.


[1] 49 CFR 571.223, S5.3

[2] S5.3(a) through (c), FMVSS No. 223.


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