Truck “Underride” Accidents Cause Significant Injuries and Vehicle Damage
Underride accidents occur when a passenger car rear-ends a semitruck and ends up sliding underneath the back end of the trailer. These types of collisions can be extremely severe even at low speeds, and for most vehicles, it leaves the windshield as only thing standing between the passenger’s head and the trailer. Even in rare underride accidents in which all parties walk away unscathed, the passenger vehicle is often totaled.
In an effort to prevent underride accidents from occurring, tractor-trailers are required to have a low-hanging guard mounted on the trailer’s rear end. In theory, this safety bar should make contact with a car’s bumper if the trailer is rear-ended. However, that’s not always the case.
Here are some facts about underride collisions every driver should know:
- Underride accidents claim hundreds of lives each year. Annually, underride accidents kill more than 300 people. This is often due to the trailer’s rear guard failing on impact.
- Trailers’ rear guards aren’t up to the task. Tests have shown that the standard rear guard on most trailers is likely to fail in even minor collisions. An impact at only 35 miles per hour can result in a fatal accident.
- Many of the injuries sustained in underride accidents can be prevented. Canadian standards for rear guards require them to be 75 percent stronger than their U.S. counterparts. As tests have shown, impacts that would be deadly on U.S. rear guards typically only result in minor injuries on Canadian models.
- These problems are well-documented and unresolved. The U.S. Department of Transportation has been aware that rear guards on U.S. tractor-trailers are problematic since 2009. Even though Canadian manufacturers have presented a working model, there has been no change in the requirements for U.S. trucks. And the last time underride standards were upgraded, the requirements took more than 20 years to go into effect.
If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck, be sure to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney in Houston right away.