Side underride guards on trucks can decrease fatalities

Crashes that involve cars and trucks generally end far worse for those in the smaller vehicle. Unfortunately, despite more stringent safety regulations, fatal crashes that involve large trucks are increasing rather than decreasing.

One of the most dangerous scenarios is when a car ends up underneath a large tractor-trailer. Federal law mandates that large trucks be equipped with underride guards, but it does not require those safeguards for the sides of trucks, even though crash tests have shown that dummies inside a car have their heads smashed if the car hits a truck from the side — even one going as slow as 35 miles per hour.

An official with the Institute for Highway Safety, which conducts these tests, said that a side underride guard “prevented the car from going underneath and consequently the airbags and seatbelts were able to protect the driver dummy in those crash tests.”

Although the IIHS has recommended that side underride guards be required on tractor-trailers, that isn’t currently the law. Safety experts continue to recommend that drivers be particularly cautious around large trucks, allow extra space and make sure that they are not in the blind spots of truck drivers.

If a loved one has been killed in a crash that involved a truck, it’s essential to determine whether the truck driver had any fault in the crash. If so, you may be able to hold the driver, the company for whom he or she worked and potentially other entities liable. While of course this won’t bring back a loved one, it can help you deal with any financial issues and perhaps incentivize those responsible for the crash to take action to prevent further tragedies.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, “A Simple Fix Could Save Lives In Car Vs. Truck Collisions,” Julie Watts, accessed June 15, 2017

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