Mother Fighting for Tougher Truck Rear Underride Guards

After her three daughters were killed in a terrible truck accident, a mother in Washington DC has been fighting for tougher rear underride guards on tractor trailers. 

The rear underride guard on trucks is designed to prevent cars from sliding underneath in a tractor trailer, rear end crash. But on May 4, 2013, an underride crash killed the woman’s three daughters. The rear guard was not strong enough to prevent the car from sliding under the truck and shearing the

Lawsuit leads to $939,000 settlement.
Lawsuit leads to $939,000 settlement.

In the accident, another truck hit the woman’s car on a Georgia highway. Her car was spun around, and the back half of her car slammed into the rear of another tractor trailer, killing the three women. The rear guard was not strong enough to prevent the car from sliding under the truck and shearing the top off their car. The mother and her son in the front seats did survive.

Accident investigators found that all of the young women had worn seatbelts but they did not have a chance to survive as the rear guard on the second tractor trailer gave way.

Research shows that underride guards do increase chances of survival in a truck accident, but current data suggests that many of the guards on trucks today do not stop deadly crashes, even when the speed is well under common highway speeds.

Trucking industry experts say that many truck underride guards will fail when struck by a car at only 35 MPH.

The mother in this deadly truck crash attended a trucking conference in DC in March to advocate for tougher trailer underride guards. The NHTSA currently is evaluating ways to make rear end truck crashes more survivable, but nothing has been made into law at this time.

Our View

Our Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorneys are hopeful that the NHTSA will in the future change regulations to make rear truck underride guards more robust. We understand that the trucking industry frequently opposes changes to regulations that can increase their costs. But many of the rear underguards on the road today in America are just not strong enough. If the guards can be made to hold up under higher speed collisions, there is little doubt that lives could be saved every year.

Far too many innocent people die in tractor trailer crashes every year. Many of them file wrongful death lawsuits and receive large settlements, such as this $3.5 million truck crash settlement. However, far better would be if laws in the trucking industry were changed to avoid some of these tragedies.