When a car and truck collide in a crash, the greater height of the truck makes it possible for the car to slide underneath causing severe injuries to those who are not killed in this type of terrible accident. Every year hundreds of motorist, cyclists, and pedestrians die in underride accidents. Over the last 19, years there have been more than 4,000 underride fatalities. Now legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that will make both side and re-engineered rear guards mandatory for all new semi-trailers.
Named the Roya, AnnaLeah & Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017 after three girls who died in underride accidents, the bill was submitted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand along with Senators Marco Rubio, Steve Cohen, and Mark DeSaulnier. Senator Gillibrand stated that just as the use of seatbelts and other safety standards are required, so should the use of side and rear guards for trucks.
Side and rear guards for trucks cover the exposed spaces below the undercarriage of the tractor trailer. In the event of a truck accident, guards prevent smaller vehicles from sliding under the truck – something which can have catastrophic results for the occupants.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent non-profit organization, has performed research that shows how strong underride guards not only prevent a car from sliding under a truck in an accident, they also further protect vehicle occupants by triggering airbags and belt restraint devices. IIHS data show that risk of injury in a truck wreck can be reduced by up to 75 percent when a semi-trailer has been equipped with side underride guards. This data was used in formulating the legislation now before the U.S. Senate.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recommended the use of underride guards since the 1970s, there has never been any legislation that requires it. Around the world, underride guards have been mandatory for some time including in Japan and many European countries.
In the U.S., the cities of Boston, New York, and Seattle require certain large trucks to use side underride guards to protect the significant number of pedestrians and cyclists in their cities. Side guards on trucks prevent people from falling under the wheels and are a last line of defense for pedestrians and cyclists who can be easily swept under a truck’s rear wheels. In many cyclist and pedestrian accidents involving a truck, the first impact is with the side of the truck. The United Kingdom enacted laws requiring trucks to be equipped with side guards in 1986 and since then there has been a reduction of 61 percent in cyclist fatalities and 20 percent in pedestrian deaths from side- impact truck crashes.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The skilled Delaware truck accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you determine your legal options and will fight to make sure you receive the maximum compensation allowable in your case. Contact us online or call 302-656-5445 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Delaware truck accident lawyer. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown we proudly represent satisfied clients throughout New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, Delaware.