Underride Guards: Are They Actually Effective?

Collisions with large trucks as a passenger vehicle can be a dangerous accident that could result in injury, or possibly even death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 there were an estimated 3,000 accidents with tractor trailers and 70% of those involved in the accident with in passenger vehicles were killed as a result. Due to the size of commercial trucks and 18-wheelers when a passenger vehicle collides with the truck, their car will actually go underneath the truck as opposed to crashing directly into it.

Underride accidents are unfortunately very dangerous as the majority of cars who are shoved under the truck are severely crushed, making it difficult for the victims to escape or survive. The NHTSA shares that there are at least 5,000 victims injured yearly because of these accidents and at least 400 deaths just from underride accidents. Due to the ever present dangers of these types of accidents, federal law has mandated that tractor trailers use underride guards on the sides and back of their trailers in order to prevent these types of accidents from happening.

While one would assume these guards would be effective in their purpose of preventing cars from sliding under the truck, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that these products may not be as helpful as the government has hoped. The IIHS essentially came to the conclusion that even at slower speeds, these guards were failing and cars were still sliding underneath the truck in a crash; therefore still causing a number of terrible accidents.

The IIHS conducted numerous tests in order to discover if this product truly met the U.S. federal standards for accidents in comparison to the standards that are enforced by the Canadian government that are much stricter. After their tests, they realized that in the majority of the crash tests, the underride guards failed to perform their duties when a car was traveling at only 35 mph; whereas the Canadian guards that met their higher standard was efficient to protect the cars at the same speeds.

Not only should there be a mandatory regulation that all trucks have these underride guards, there need to be much higher standards given in order to make sure that the guards perform their designated tasks—protecting cars in an accident. When a car crashes into a truck and slides underneath, these individuals face an even greater chance of severe if not life threatening injuries.

In the event that you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact Arnold & Itkin for the truck accident lawyer you deserve on your side. We will do whatever we can to help prove the negligence and liability of those responsible for the accident, and help you seek the monetary compensation you deserve after your accident.


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