Some of the deadliest collisions between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles are known as “underride accidents.” In a so-called underride accident, the passenger vehicle collides with the commercial vehicle and then slides underneath.
Because the car goes underneath the truck, the top of the cab is typically crushed, and the occupants of the car are almost always severely injured or killed as a result. These accidents are devastating, but they are also preventable.
To prevent future deaths, politicians from both parties and across multiple states want to mandate guard rails on truck trailers. With guards on the front and sides of the vehicle and reinforcements to the existing back guard, underride crashes can be prevented.
Installing guard rails can save thousands of lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tallied 4,102 trucking-related deaths in 2018. Their study found that 267 fatalities occurred after a vehicle hit the side of a semi. Another 476 passengers died when their vehicle struck the rear. Finally, front collisions killed 674 people. These are all sites where guards could have been installed, and where deaths could have been prevented.
WHY WOULDN’T TRUCKING COMPANIES USE GUARDS?
To most drivers, installing guard rails on large trucks seems like a no-brainer. To trucking companies and truckers, however, guard rails add weight and cost money. A good side panel can weigh about 800 pounds and installing one on each side can cost up to $4,000.
In addition to the upfront costs, the added weight could force truckers into hauling less weight with every load in efforts to adhere to their 80,000-pound maximum.
Nevertheless, many trucking professionals support using guard rails. To many people, the cost of a human life is not worth being able to carry a little extra weight.
Still, these life-saving devices are not mandatory, and many companies and independent drivers opt out of guard rails and other safety measures.
PURSUING JUSTICE AFTER A PREVENTABLE DEATH
If you have lost a loved one to, or been injured by, an underride accident or any other type of truck accident, Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC is here to help. Truckers and the companies they work for are expected to take every possible precaution to avoid accidents. If they did not install guard rails, this could be one point against them during a personal injury claim.
Our team of attorneys has recovered over $500 million on behalf of our clients and knows what errors to look for when holding a truck driver or shipping company responsible for your accident or loss.
Let us fight for you today! Call 918-492-7674 or request a free consultationto get started.