Side Underride Collisions: When Will Congress Act?

One Of The Most Lethal Truck Accidents

Known as one of the most tragic and deadly types of accidents happening on the road today, side underride crashes kill more than 200 people each year (NBC News).

Trailer with underride guards vs one without

If you have lost a loved one in a side underride collision, our sincere condolences go out to you and your family. We cannot imagine how difficult this time is for you, and we want to help. In fact, you might have found this page because you need guidance or direction. If this describes you, you have come to the right place. The attorneys at Fried Goldberg want to help you move forward.

What is a Side Underride Collision?

A side collision happens when a vehicle crashes perpendicularly into the side of a semi-truck or trailer, during which the top of that vehicle is ripped off by the force.

It may surprise you that most underride collisions could possibly be prevented, simply by outfitting semi-trucks with side guards to keep a colliding vehicle from sliding completely under the truck.

Why haven’t side guards for semi-trucks been made mandatory by Congress, especially if the devices could help save lives?

Could Side Guards Save Lives?

Rear Guards on Truck
Rear Guards on Truck

Much like a rear underride collision, which can yield deadly results, one major difference separates the two wrecks: guards.

Rear Guards on Truck

Truck Underride Guard Rear
Truck Underride Guard Rear

Guards on the back of trucks are required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, yet are still not required along the sides of trucks.

It took Hollywood celebrity Jayne Mansfield dying in a rear underride collision before the NHTSA finally acted by making rear truck guards mandatory. Even then, it had been almost 40 years before rear guards, or “Mansfield Bars,” became required.

Side Guards on Trucks

Following this, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that side guards could decrease both injuries and deaths on roads, and even went so far as to issue a recommendation that the NHTSA implement side protection systems onto all new trucks.

The trucking industry opposed this recommendation, claiming the guards are inadequate because they:

  • Weigh the truck down
  • Aren’t cost-effective
  • Can weaken the trailer

According to former head of the NHTSA Joan Claybrook, the reason side guards for semi-trucks have not yet been made mandatory is because new truck with side guards would be more expensive, and has nothing to do with technology.

Side guards were made mandatory in Europe in 1989.

Will Congress Make a Change?

According to NBC News, NHTSA could issue new regulations for side underride protection, or Congress could force the administration to act – but, advocates for road safety have drawn a parallel between truck manufactures and lawmakers. – the unbiased information site – revealed that over the past six years, the Senate Commerce committee received over $9 million from the transportation industry; one million dollars of that sum came from the trucking sector.

Does The Fate of Side Guards For Semi-Trucks Depend on Money and Financial Gain?

Has your life been impacted by the carelessness of the trucking industry or a truck driver?

At Fried Goldberg, we dedicate more than 95 percent of our practice to handling truck accident and commercial vehicle cases. Contact us today by 877-591-1801 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

We will stand against the negligence of another and fight for the healing and justice you deserve.

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