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What is a Mansfield bar?

When you have driven behind a large truck on a New York roadway, you have likely noticed how it has a bar that extends down from the bed in the rear. This bar or special bumper is often referred to as the Mansfield bar or DOT bar. According to Mental Floss, these under-ride bars were made a mandatory requirement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This move and the nickname of the bar were influenced by the tragic death of actress Jayne Mansfield.

Jayne Mansfield and two other passengers were killed in an accident when the vehicle she was riding in hit the rear of a semi-truck and went underneath the bed of the truck.  While her children, who were in the backseat, survived the crash, the world lost one of its most promising starlets. She was a big name in the 50s and 60s, often compared to Marilyn Monroe. One of her surviving children is an actress herself who you may know from television, Mariska Hargitay.

Mansfield’s legend lived on not only through her daughter and the works she had completed herself prior to her death but also with the new law requiring all semi-trucks to be equipped with the under-ride bar. This bar is intended to stop your vehicle before it can go underneath the truck if you were to hit the truck from the rear. It works similar to a bumper on a standard sized vehicle. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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