Experts say that it is one of the most devastating and deadly tractor trailer accidents. When a car slams into the side of a big rig and slides underneath, most of the safety features on the vehicle are useless. The top of the car is often torn off, and the car occupants are often decapitated.
US government statistics reveal that at least 200 people die each year in the US in side underride crashes. Experts say that many of these gruesome deaths could be prevented if trucks were required by federal law to have side guards.
The US government requires guards on the rear of trucks but not on the sides. Key legislators on Capitol Hill who receive millions of dollars every election cycle from the trucking lobby have not pushed for such new safety rules. This is despite the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board recommends side underride guards on big rigs.
Meanwhile, trucking industry groups such as the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association have been in opposition to a sideguard requirement for many years. The group cites added costs, technical challenges and concerns that the guards could weaken the trailer or increase weight.
Our tractor trailer accident attorneys licensed in Virginia and North Carolina certainly hope that new rules are passed that would require sideguards on tractor trailers. These safety features are already present on trucks in many parts of Europe. There is no reason why the United States government cannot require them as well.
There is plenty of research that shows just how successful underride guards on the rear of trailers have been. Many tractor trailer accidents occur when a car slams into the rear of the trailer and is wedged under the carriage. This usually results in very serious personal injury, death and sometimes decapitation.
In fact, 260 of 2241 people who were in tractor trailer crashes in 2012 died due to a rear end crash with a big rig. Further, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined that four out of five deadly tractor trailer accidents involved a car hitting the rear of a truck trailer.
Our tractor trailer personal injury attorneys sincerely hope that the US government takes action soon to require sideguards on tractor trailers to save lives. We also think that the rear guards on tractor trailers should be strengthened. Current US rules still allow serious injuries to occur when cars hit the rear of the trailer at moderate speeds.
Serious tractor trailer accidents kill thousands of innocent people annually, leading to anguish and grief for surviving families, as well as large truck accident wrongful death lawsuits. We hope federal rules are strengthened soon to make side and rear collisions with trucks less deadly.