Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has performed crash tests and analyses that illustrates how underride guards on tractor-trailers can fail in fairly low-speed crashes.
Rear underride guards on huge commercial trucks are very beneficial during car accidents that involve a passenger vehicle smashing into the back of the truck. A rear guard is placed at the base of the back end of a tractor-trailer, so that when a car hits it, the front end of the car does not continue forward and become lodged under the truck.
Without the guard in place, the car or smaller passenger vehicle can go under the big rig’s tail end, often to the extent that the entire front half of the passenger vehicle is under the tractor-trailer. This leads to a high likelihood of fatality for occupants of the car.
An estimated 423 people die each year when their passenger vehicle strikes the back of trucks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The injured number more than 5,000.
The Institute is petitioning the government to tighten the regulations on underride guards, calling for stronger guards to be in place and for more trucks and trailers to be required to use them.
“Cars’ front-end structures are designed to manage a tremendous amount of crash energy [but] hitting the back end of a large truck is a game changer. If the truck’s underride guard fails – or isn’t there at all – your chances of walking away from even a relatively low-speed crash aren’t good,” says Adrian Lund, Institute president.
Gaps in current underride regulations permit some heavy trucks to forgo guards entirely. Even when guards are in use, they aren’t always held to the 1996 rules for strength or energy absorption. As a result, many commercial trucks are an even greater danger than usual on the roads. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hopes their research, findings and petition will encourage the federal government to tighten safety regulations regarding underride guards and that, as a result, lives will be saved.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck accident or if you have lost someone in a truck accident, please contact us today for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and options.