When collisions occur between large commercial trucks and smaller passenger vehicles, the smaller vehicle often suffers extensive damage, and the safety of the occupants is at serious risk. In the vast majority of such collisions, the people who get hurt or die are the occupants of the smaller vehicles rather than those in the commercial vehicle.
Underride crashes are some of the most catastrophic collisions possible between vehicles of different sizes. They happen when passenger vehicles go under bigger commercial vehicles during a crash.
The right guards and maintenance can prevent many underride crashes
Limiting the number of serious and fatal crashes requires effort from everyone on the road. Drivers need to do their best to be safe and react appropriately to road conditions. They also need to maintain their vehicles well. When it comes to commercial trucks, maintaining the vehicle is often the responsibility of a company rather than the person driving.
For years, the federal government has required that transportation companies and independent owner-operators install rear underride guards on the trailers of semi-trucks. These boxy bars hanging down from the back of the trailer help stop a vehicle if it hits the truck from behind. Unfortunately, inadequate maintenance or the decision to purchase the cheapest underride guard possible might mean that the safety device doesn’t fulfill its purpose.
Additionally, while side underride guards would help drastically reduce the number of crashes that involve passenger vehicles going under the trailer of a truck, many transportation companies won’t invest in them because federal law does not mandate them.
Identifying ways that the truck company failed to address known risk factors could open up more options for compensation after a crash with a commercial vehicle.