The U.S. government needs to require underride guards on semitrucks — not simply on the back of the trailers, but also on the sides of trailers. These underride guards prevent vehicles from sliding beneath the trucks when they collide into them. Numerous deaths and catastrophic accidents have happened due to the absence of these vital safety devices.
For years, there was the problem of vehicles sliding beneath semitrucks in rear-end crashes. This would result in the sheering off of vehicle roofs and the death of drivers and occupants within the vehicles. Tragically, decapitation was not uncommon in these incidents. Currently, rear underride guards are a requirement on semitrucks but side underride guards have yet to be required.
Last year, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) released information pertaining to the success of side underride guards in preventing terrible incidents from occurring. The tests revealed that side underride guards can save lives. The executive vice president and also the head research officer at IIHS wrote in a statement about the tests, “We think a mandate for side underride guards on large trucks has merit, especially as crash deaths continue to rise on our roads.”
The president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) agrees with the IIHS assessment by stating, “These are crucial safety protections because frequently in side underride crashes, the front seat occupants are killed when the vehicle goes under a truck and shears off the top of the vehicle.”
In 2015 alone, 1,542 people died in semitruck versus passenger car collisions. If requiring side underride guards served to reduce these numbers by only one, they would be worth it. Isn’t it about time to make these a legal requirement?
If you or your family member were seriously hurt — or if your family member died — in a semitruck versus car accident, you might want to investigate your legal rights and options immediately.