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Could trucking companies do more to prevent underride accidents?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2023 | Car Accidents

Drivers in passenger vehicles, particularly those in compact cars, can feel pretty intimidated when they’re sharing the road with a big commercial truck – for good reason. It’s not hard to see how the size difference can result in tragic results for the occupants of a car, especially when you consider the risk of an underride accident.

An underride accident is what happens when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the body of a larger vehicle, typically a commercial truck of some sort. The devastation to the passenger areas of the smaller vehicle can be immense.

Government agencies have been recommending safeguards for years

More than one government agency has recommended that truck manufacturers and trucking companies invest in safety improvements that would prevent these kinds of events. Some of the top suggestions include:

  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) develop standards for underride guards for single-unit trucks, like dump trucks and other construction equipment.
  • NTSB also says that NHTSA should require front underride guards on tractors. These would keep such vehicles from accidentally rolling over a smaller car in front of them.
  • NHTSA wants to strengthen the requirements for rear guards and side underride guards on trailers to prevent more of these terrible accidents, including the inspection of rear guards to make sure that they’re not prone to failure.

Unfortunately, not everybody is on board with these proactive measures. For example, there has been pushback that indicates that U.S. tractor designs have bumper and lower frame designs that are sufficient for protection, and disputes over how effective side underride guards would actually be.

The reality is that there are a lot of ways that you can get into a serious car accident, whether a truck is involved or not. If you’ve been hurt or a loved one was killed, find out more about your legal options.