According to the Government Accounting Office, about 219 people died each year, between 2008 and 2017, due to an underride truck crash. The GAO states the averages are probably low due to the ways statistics are kept on a state and federal level.
What is an underride guard?
Underrides are guards on the rear, front, and side of the trailers and large trucks that prevent the car from sliding under the truck. Underride guards can be used on the front, the rear, and the sides of the truck in case of head-on crashes, rear-end collisions, and sideswipes.
Guards, especially front guards, are currently used more in Europe than the US. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) do require rear guards on US commercial trucks but they don’t require front or side guards.
What is an underride truck crash?
An underride crash is a collision between a car and a large truck. If a car strikes the truck in the rear, the car can slide under the truck. This type of crash usually kills the occupants of the car or causes catastrophic injuries. Larger trucks such as tractor trailers, dump trucks, delivery trucks and especially prone to underrides.
It’s not just that the car slides under the truck that causes the fatalities. According to the GAO, cars are designed “to crumple in a crash and absorb the main force of an impact, while sensors detect the impact and activate safety features within the passenger compartment, such as air bags and seatbelt pretensioners.” These sensors and safety features don’t always activate if a car goes under the truck.
Underride guards don’t just prevent the car from sliding under the truck, either. The guards “essentially lower the profile of the truck’s body to be more compatible with that of a passenger vehicle.”
Reasons why underride truck accidents happen
While underride guards can help prevent deaths when crashes do occur, there are several reasons why cars strike trucks so hard they might slide under the truck in the first place:
- A truck driver comes to a sudden stop
- A truck doesn’t take steps to make sure their vehicle is visible at night such as having working lights and using reflective tape
- Poor weather conditions can make it difficult for the car to stop in time
Legislators from both political parties have called for underride guards on the sides and fronts of trucks in the US Senate and House of Representatives, but no new legislation has been passed.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our experienced Chattanooga truck accident lawyers help show truck manufactures are liable for deaths and injuries due to defective parts and due to failure to install safety features such as underride guards. We also work to show that the truck driver and the trucking company that hired the driver caused the accident. We file wrongful death cases when a loved one is killed and personal injury cases for anyone who is injured in a truck crash.
For help with any type of truck collision, call our experienced truck accident lawyers today. You can make an appointment by calling us at 423-756-7923 or by filling out our contact form. We represent truck accident victims and the families of anyone killed in a truck wreck from our offices in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and in North Georgia.