Why Truck Underrides Are So Dangerous
In the United States, truck underride accidents are unfortunately all too common. These accidents can occur for several reasons, such as when a car drives underneath a tractor-trailer or when a smaller vehicle slides under a larger one in a collision. Because the truck's cab is so high off the ground, it can be difficult for a smaller car to avoid being crushed in an underride accident. Here’s what every driver needs to know.
The Concerning Underride Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 460 fatalities were due to truck underride accidents between 2004 and 2013. This amounts to approximately one death every other week. In addition, there were more than 2,000 injuries sustained in underride accidents during that same time period.
Some steps can help reduce the occurrence of underride accidents, such as requiring trucks to have side guards and better lighting. However, even with these safety measures, accidents can still happen.
What is the Stop Underrides Act?
The Stop Underrides Act is a proposed piece of legislation that would prevent automobile manufacturers from selling vehicles rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as less safe than those the manufacturer has already sold. The act was introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) on April 10, 2019.
Under the proposed act, a manufacturer would be prohibited from selling a vehicle rated by the NHTSA as less safe than those the manufacturer has already sold, regardless of the age of the model year. The act would also require manufacturers to disclose to consumers whether a newly sold car is less safe than a comparable model already on the market.
Related Article: Bipartisan Bills Could Require Trucks to Install Underride Guards
Why is the Trucking Industry Giving Pushback on This Bill?
The trucking industry doesn't want the Stop Underrides Act to pass because it would require them to add underride guards to their trailers. These guards would help prevent cars from sliding underneath trucks in a collision and could save lives. However, adding these guards would be costly and time-consuming for trucking companies, and they argue that the benefits do not justify the costs — which is concerning since it can save lives.
The Stop Underrides Act has been introduced in Congress several times but has never passed. The trucking industry has been a significant opponent of the legislation and has lobbied against it. In 2015, Congress held a hearing on the issue, but no action was taken.
Opponents of the Stop Underrides Act argue that underride guards are ineffective in preventing accidents. They also argue that the cost of adding underride guards would be prohibitive and would put many trucking companies out of business.
Supporters of the legislation argue that even if underride guards are not 100% effective, they can still save lives. They point to the fact that many other countries, including Canada and Australia, have already mandated underride guards on trucks and argue that the United States should do the same.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Being Involved in a Truck Underride Crash
Underride truck accidents are a severe problem on our nation's highways. These accidents often result in fatalities or severe injuries for a smaller vehicle’s occupants. There are several things that drivers can do to help avoid being involved in an underride accident, including:
- Always use caution when driving around large trucks. Remember that they have a larger blind spot than smaller vehicles.
- Do not tailgate trucks, as this increases the chances that you will collide with the truck if it brakes suddenly.
- If you must pass a truck, do so on the left side and use extreme caution.
- Be aware of the dangers associated with driving in inclement weather. Icy roads and heavy rain can make it difficult for trucks to stop quickly.
You can help reduce your chances of being involved in an underride truck accident by following these tips. Remember that these accidents can be hazardous, so always drive carefully when around large trucks.
Injured in a Truck Underride Accident? Contact McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A.
At McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A., our attorneys have a strong track record of success in helping truck accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. We understand the devastating consequences that a large truck accident can bring. We make it our mission to do everything to help our clients obtain justice. We diligently investigate accidents to ensure we have the best evidence to strengthen a case. We leave no stone unturned.
For more information, call our office at (505) 405-4441 or fill out this form on our website for a free consultation.