A mother from Tennessee lobbied Capitol Hill this week to demand that legislators pass tougher safety standards for big rigs.
The woman – Laurie Higginbotham – went to the Hill to talk to legislators about the deadly danger on tractor trailers that led to her son’s death in 2015. Her son died in an underride truck crash.
Michael Higginbotham was traveling at a mere 30 MPH when he struck the side of a tractor-trailer that was making an illegal U-turn.
Unfortunately, his bumper did not ever contact the truck or the trailer. So his airbags failed to deploy, and the crumple zones in the car did not work. His vehicle slammed into the side of the tractor-trailer. He died upon impact.
His mother was in DC to push for new legislation that is called the Under Act. She maintains that this new law would prevent people from being killed in similar accidents as the one who took her son from her.
The new law would mandate that trailers feature side safety guards known as underrides. She says that the side guard panels would prevent the same types of deadly truck crashes.
In the US, only the rear of trailers is required to have an under guard to prevent a car from sliding underneath in an accident.
The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association is strongly opposed to the Under Act. The organization claims that the law would be expensive and very difficult to implement.
Our hearts go out to the mother in this story who lost her son to a truck underguard accident. Our personal injury attorneys in North Carolina and Virginia have seen many deadly truck accidents that happen due to rear underguards failing, or the lack of side under guards on US trailers.
Some countries require trailers on big rigs to have guards, but the US is not one of them. Sadly, many of these sorts of truck accidents happen every year due to a lack of side guards on trailers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in 2015 that 301 of 1542 occupants who died in truck crashes were killed when their car hit the side of the trailer. And 292 died when their car hit the rear, even though trucks in the US must have rear underguards. The institute says that hundreds of deaths could be prevented each year with the side panels on rigs.
People who lose a loved one in this type of truck crash have our deepest sympathy. While filing a wrongful death lawsuit can bring the family much-needed compensation to deal with the loss of a loved one, that person can never be brought back.