At best, the under-ride protection that conforms to statutory requirements is not strong enough to prevent accidents even at the typical highway speed of 30 miles per hour. This is the conclusion of the report of the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Though the height requirement has been steadily decreased since the 90s, trucks provide little to no protection against rear or side under-ride crashes. These accidents happen when a vehicle “rides under” a tractor trailer either from the side or from behind.
The same study has revealed that it is often safer to crash against a solid brick wall than slide under a tractor trailer. The solid engine block or the various crumple zones are powerless to protect the driver and his passengers against these accidents. They often result in severe head trauma, or in the worst cases, decapitation as the roof of the car is sheared clean off.
With inadequate vertical support and reinforcement, under-ride accidents hurt over 5,000 people each year and claim the lives of over 400. Of the latter, two of every five involve the rear or the corners.
If high-visibility markings or similar requirements are absent, a trailer making a turn appears perpendicular to a driver in the dead of the night. Guided only by the truck’s headlights, these accidents are often the result of ill-timed judgment especially in poor weather conditions.
Traffic safety and other similar groups are continually petitioning both the government and trucking companies to take steps to prevent under-ride collisions. If you or anyone you care about has fallen victim to this negligence, do not hesitate to contact a truck accident lawyer today. These incidents can be prevented but the continued negligence of trucking companies brings no other conclusion but a wanton disregard to traffic safety.