How a Sex Goddess Changed the Auto Industry

If you're around the same vintage as I am you probably remember Jayne Mansfield or at least heard about her.

I know you're probably wondering what Jayne Mansfield has to do with the automobile industry but actually, she had a lot to do with it.

Jayne was a 1950's blond bombshell that took Hollywood by storm. Before she had a chance to make it really big she was killed in a car accident.

On June 29, 1967 the car she was riding in crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that had slowed down because of a truck spraying mosquito fogger. The automobile struck the rear of the semi tractor and under-rode it. She was killed instantly. Rumors that Mansfield was decapitated are untrue, though she did suffer severe head trauma.

The scene was so gruesome that it wasn't long before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made it mandatory that all semi truck trailers be outfitted with a rear under-ride bar or bumper.

In 1998 that standard was revised and the height that this requirement was set at was 22 inches (measured from the ground to the bottom of the bumper).

Today there are a number of pickup trucks and SUVs that you can drive off the showroom floor with bumpers higher than 22".

So why should you care?

Under-ride is a huge problem - not just for the bullet vehicle that under-rides the target vehicle but because the target vehicle is susceptible to a post collision fire.

The auto industry has done a lot to prevent the typical backing accident by installing backup alarms and cameras (although a backing accident is about 7th or 8th on the hierarchy of automobile accidents). But did you know that you are twice as likely to die from a fire caused by a rear end collision to your pickup truck than you are to back up over someone with it.

Rear end collision fires are rare - but not a rare as backing over someone. There's only two ways to help prevent a post collision vehicle fire - move the gas tank ahead of the rear axel or shield it from intrusion.

Blocking under-ride and shielding from intrusions into the tank zone are just two more additional benefits of having one of our products on the back of your pickup truck or SUV.

So the next time you take a look at the back of a semi truck trailer, check out the rear under-ride bar. That bar is sometimes called "The Mansfield Bar". It took the life of someone very famous before something was done about protecting the rear of a vehicle from under-ride and the treacherous "Wedge Effect".

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