When a large commercial semi-truck is either stopped or attempting to stop suddenly, passenger vehicles that are following behind these trucks may be unable to stop in time. When this occurs, the smaller vehicle could be forced underneath the trailer of the semi-truck, killing the passenger car occupants. This is known as an underride trucking accident.
Due to the severe nature of an underride trucking accident, federal laws dictate that an underride guard must be in place on every trailer manufactured after 1996. When an underride guard is correctly constructed and properly installed, it should prevent passenger vehicles from sliding beneath the truck. Unfortunately, many of the installed underride guards are either defective or have not been properly installed. This allows passenger vehicles to slide underneath the trailer, resulting in fatal accidents.
Underride Accidents are Deadly
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that in 2012 an estimated 15 percent of fatal crashes between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles involved the rear of the semi-truck. An IIHS analysis of a smaller sample of these fatal crashes discovered that 82 percent involving the rear of a semi-truck causing an underride accident.
When the IIHS tested a 2010 Chevy Malibu by crashing it into the back of a parked 18-wheeler at only 35 miles per hour, the underride guard failed, and the car slid underneath the truck. If there had been passengers in the passenger vehicle, they would have all been killed, even at low speeds and even with an underride guard in place.
Even though underride guards are required, the standards for the strength of the underride guards and the specifications for installation of the guards are not particularly strict. A bipartisan Stop Underrides Act would require updated standards for back underride guards. It would also require the installation of underride guards on all sides of the truck including the front.
Because truck underride collisions are the deadliest type of accidents on the roadways, claiming the lives of at least 300 people each year, the bill seems like a good way to begin cutting down on these unnecessary fatalities. Comprehensive underride protections are long overdue, and the necessary technology for stronger, safer, underride guards currently exists. In addition, this Act would require annual inspections for all semi-trucks, including their underride guards.
Contact Our Phoenix Trucking Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident in Phoenix, we can help you seek compensation for your injuries and for any damages you’ve suffered. At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, our Phoenix truck accident lawyers know that serious trucking accidents require a law firm with extensive resources needed to tackle these tough cases. Our experienced Phoenix truck accident attorneys know how to fight the large insurance companies – and win. Contact us today at (602) 461-8640 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We are here when you need us the most – and we will fight for you every step of the way.