Recent tests show how side underride guards can prevent fatalities in truck accidents
Big rig trucks often cause significant damage to other vehicles that get into accidents with them. Part of this is due to the sheer size and weight of a big rig truck. But it turns out that the design of the trailer the truck is pulling can also have a big impact on the severity of injuries in certain types of accidents.
Specifically, trailer design affects the potential for underride accidents. Underride accidents occur when a car hits a trailer and keeps going, becoming partially lodged beneath the trailer. This type of accident can be devastating, as the passenger area can be crushed by the impact and the occupants killed.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, underride accidents account for about half of all fatal collisions between big rigs and cars. This figure could be reduced with a simple safety innovation, namely a side underride guard.
Federal law already requires big rig trucks to have rear underride guards, which prevent vehicles that rear-end a truck from becoming wedged under the trailer. Adding side underride guards would provide similar protection for vehicles that hit big rigs in sideswipe or T-bone accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted safety tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of side underride guards. The tests involved a mid-size sedan hitting the center of a 53-foot trailer at 35 miles per hour. When the trailer was equipped with a side underride guard, the car was unable to go under the trailer. Instead, the front end crumpled against the guard and the airbags and safety belt were able to properly restrain and protect the crash test dummy. When the trailer was equipped with a side skirt designed for aerodynamics, not underride protection, the impact of the accident sheared off part of the roof of the car and left it wedged halfway under the trailer. This would likely have caused fatal injuries in a real-world scenario.
Efforts are still underway to incorporate this valuable safety feature into more tractor trailers. Meanwhile, side underride accidents and other types of truck accidents continue to happen.
If you have been injured in a truck accident—or if you have lost a loved one in a truck accident—you may be entitled to compensation. Let the experienced truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker help. We know how to go up against the big truck companies and win, and we will fight aggressively to secure the compensation you need and deserve following a truck accident that was not your fault. Call us at 800-333-0000 now for a free consultation.