The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI) states that one out of every ten deaths that occurs on the highway involves a large truck. This is due to the fact that small cars are competing with much larger trucks for the use of this country’s highways and byways. These smaller cars are no match for vehicles that weigh up to 30 times more than they do. Besides that, trucks are much taller than most vehicles on the road, which increases the risk of under-ride accidents.
Injuries and Deaths Associated with Truck Under-Ride Accidents
Under-ride accidents occur when smaller vehicles crash into the back or the side of a tractor-trailer and then slides underneath. It’s not uncommon for the top of the vehicle to be ripped off during this type of accident, which makes it a horrific experience for passengers inside these cars.
According to Mainor Wirth injury lawyers, under-ride accidents not only cause serious injury, but in many cases they are fatal. Due to the seriousness of these types of accidents, trucks have been required to have rear guards since 1953. However, in most cases, these rear guards are not strong enough to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath the truck.
The most recent statistics show that 238 passengers were killed when their vehicle struck the rear of a truck and 295 passengers died when their vehicle hit the side of a truck. These numbers prove that truck under-ride deaths are the highest they have been in 10 years.
At this time, trucks are not required to have guards along the sides of their trucks. Since these guards are not yet required, and rear guards are not strong enough to offer the right amount of protection, passengers in smaller vehicles continue to get injured or die when their vehicle comes into contact with a truck.
Current Truck Under-Ride Legislation
In December of 2017, a bill called the Stop Underrides Act of 2017 was introduced to the Senate. If passed, all trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, would be required to install both rear and side under-ride guards that meet a specified performance standard.
One year after being introduced, the bill is still sitting in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. No hearings have been scheduled for this piece of legislation and none are expected until the new Congress convenes in January.