This week, a driver in Macon, Georgia was in a serious accident with a tractor trailer where part of his car broke through the side of the underride guard on the big rig.
The driver, fortunately, only suffered minor injuries, but told the press that he felt lucky to be alive, especially when he saw the damage to his car. His vehicle broke through the left side of the underride guard, which is a vital safety measure that is made to prevent cars from sliding under trucks.
Researchers at the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety say this rear end truck crash is another sign of the need for better federal regulations and safety requirements for tractor trailers in the US.
According to a senior researcher at IIHS, if there had been a passenger in the right seat, he or she would have suffered serious or fatal injuries. The researcher said that cars frequently break through the guards even at speeds under 35 MPH. In recent times, some trucking companies have added new technology that is tougher and more resistant to higher speed wrecks. But their effectiveness is not well regulated.
There is a bipartisan measure being reviewed on Capitol Hill called the Stop Underrides Act of 2017. It would help to bolster the strength of the guards and could lead to fewer serious accidents.
As truck accident attorneys who have handled multimillion dollar truck crash settlements,we would like to see tougher standards enacted for tractor trailer rear under guards in this country. The above accident is not surprising to us; there have been reports for years about serious problems with rear truck under guards.
In 2013, Business Week reported the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined that seven out of eight trucking companies failed a tougher crash test that involved cars hitting the rear of trailers a glancing side blow, rather than head on. In these types of accidents, the guards failed and would have caused serious injuries. This sounds like the type of accident that happened in Macon in this news story.
Approximately 10% of fatal truck crashes involve a car hitting the rear of the trailer, so we hope that the US government takes this problem more seriously soon. Lives are at risk.