Underride guards are less common on large commercial trucks than one might think. You might see a truck here and there with these guards, which are located on either side of the truck between the sets of wheels in the front and back of the trailer.

Fatal truck accidents are often the result of trucks not having these guards, because passenger vehicles can be forced underneath the truck. The research has been conducted by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) into the effectiveness of underride guards on trucks. The research took place in spring 2019, and was the first of its kind by the organization to include side underride guards.

In 2015 alone, 301 people killed in accidents with tractor trailers died because the vehicle they were riding in went underneath the truck on the side. There are too many gaps in federal data to determine how many crash deaths from accidents between passenger vehicles and trucks are caused by underride, but many experts believe it is at least half. As of right now, federal regulators require trucks to have rear underride guards installed and not side underride guards.

“Our tests and research show that side underride guards have the potential to save lives,” David Zuby, the IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer, said. “We think a mandate for side underride guards on large trucks has merit, especially as crash deaths continue to rise on our roads.”

Lawmakers calling for regulation on underride guards

Lawmakers have resumed their call for the regulation of underride guards on the sides of tractor trailers following multiple deadly crashes across the country earlier in 2019 and in late 2018. The bipartisan bills reintroduced in March would require all trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more to have underride guards installed on both sides of the truck. The bills were originally introduced in December 2017 but failed to garner enough support to move forward.

The sponsors of the reintroduced bills are U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), who released this statement regarding the bills: “When these accidents happen, a car’s safety features are rendered useless because most of the car slides under the trailer. These accidents are often fatal, even at low speeds.”

Injuries caused by underride accidents

The injuries one can suffer from an underride accident can be traumatic and deadly. They include any of the following:

  • Amputation
  • Crushing injuries
  • Decapitation
  • Spinal cord injuries that can lead to paralysis
  • Lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Death

The Alabama truck accident attorneys from the Mezrano Law Firm proudly represent victims of Alabama truck accidents caused by underride. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in such a tragic accident, call our office at 205-206-6300 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Birmingham, Florence, Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa.