Most underride guards of today are doing a good job in helping to prevent the risks of passenger vehicles sliding underneath a tractor-trailer in the event of a rear-end accident.
Unfortunately, they're only good for a direct rear-and collision. They're not helping to prevent these risks when only involving a small portion of the truck's rear, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
According to federal law, most semitrailers are required to have these guards -- to help prevent underride. These guards are the steel bars that are located under the rear of the truck. According to earlier research, the guards weren't big enough and weren't strong enough. These studies prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set tougher standards in 2011. The work isn't done though. Officials with the IIHS are still trying to get these guards on more trucks -- like dump trucks. Unfortunately, they're not currently required to have these guards, which creates deadly risks for other motorists on the road.
Our Costa Mesa trucking accident lawyers understand that our passenger vehicles don't stand much of a chance against these big, commercial trucks. Their size, weight and power are likely to crush our vehicles in the event of a collision. That's why it's important to have these guards on trucks -- to help to reduce the risks and give us a fighting chance.
Trucking companies are building trailers equipped with tougher underride guards. Officials believe that this is primarily because Canada continues to have tougher standards than the U.S. Regardless, they're still weak in protecting those who hit the rear side of these trucks.
These guards are effective, but not effective enough. According to federal statistics, close to 300 of the more than 2,240 passenger vehicle occupants who slammed their vehicles into the back of a truck were killed. Officials believe that this number has dropped from the 460 out of 3,700 in 2004 because of two reasons: 1.) the underrides have gotten strong and 2.) Americans have been driving less with the struggling economy, leaving fewer opportunities for accidents.
Officials believe that if the manufacturers of these guards can do their job more efficiently and choose to protect passenger vehicle occupants while also helping to lower repair costs for customers, then everyone can win. Until then, officials with the IIHS are urging those with the NHTSA to come up with more effective regulations. All we can do in the meantime if hope that trucking companies take note and purchase trailers that come with stronger guards.
Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a trucking accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.
Los Angeles Trucking Accidents and the Effort to Keep You Safe, California Injury Lawyers, November 2, 2012
9-Truck Pileup Shut Downs Interstate 5 for 14 Hours, California Injury Lawyers, October 28, 2012