A bill that would require underride guards for all commercial trucks and tractor trailers has been introduced for the third time in Congress. Trucking safety advocates have long supported the bill that would help prevent the kind of devastating accidents that result in smaller vehicles ending up under 18-wheelers.
Senators Marco Rubio and Kirsten Gillibrand have reintroduced the Stop Underrides Act for the third time. The bill would require that all new tractor trailers and 18- wheelers be equipped with underride protection guards, on the sides as well as the front. In many truck accidents, the smaller vehicle involved in the collision may slide or be pushed under the truck. These underride protection guards would prevent a small vehicle from sliding under the truck during an accident. These kinds of accidents are not uncommon and are very likely to end in serious injuries, like decapitations, if not fatalities. At the very least, the occupants of the small vehicle could suffer devastating head injuries.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that these accidents are extremely common. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, close to 80% of truck accident deaths involve situations in which the smaller vehicle slid under the truck. These kinds of accidents need not occur at high speeds to be devastating. Even at moderate speeds, the underride can slice through the passenger cabin of the smaller vehicle involved in the accident, possibly decapitating heads.
In 2012, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that as many as three-quarters of serious injuries caused in side impact accidents with tractor trailers could be prevented if side underride guards were required on all trucks. In the European Union, side underride guards have been a requirement on all trucks for several years now. The United States has been slow to require such protections on all commercial trucks. The lawmakers hope that this could soon change with the passing of the bill requiring all new 18-wheelers to be equipped with side and rear underride protection.
There is, however, solid opposition for the bill from the trucking industry. According to critics, the underride protection guards would add weight to the truck which would, in turn, lower the maximum weight that the truck can carry. This would also ultimately result in an increase in the number of tractor trailers on our road. In turn, some critics believe that this bill actually increases the risks for motorists on the highways, far from decreasing them.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a tractor trailer accident or commercial trucking accident, it is important that you consult an experienced truck accident attorney to protect your legal rights to a claim. There are several parties that can potentially be named in a trucking accident claim. You could qualify for a claim for damages against not just the trucking company and the truck driver involved in your accident, but also the manufacturer of the truck, maintenance and repair companies, shippers and other parties. Talk to an attorney to find out all the recovery you may be entitled to.