Truck Underride Accidents: What You Should Know
Until now, you may not have realized there was a term to describe it. The definition of truck underride accidents is just about self-explanatory. Almost everyone can pull up imagery of a small car crashing into the rear of a truck and sliding beneath it. However, underride accidents do not just happen from behind. There is also the issue of side underride crashes.
The government is aware of the potential for underride accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to address rule changes regarding underride protection in light-vehicle crashes into the rear of trailers and semi-trailers.
According to one news article, there are limited regulations regarding protection against side underride crashes. Unfortunately, more than 200 fatalities occur each year because of this type of accident. It happens when a smaller size vehicle crashes into the side of a truck and becomes wedged.
Rear Underride Accidents
Anecdotally, there are stories of people involved in rear underride accidents who survive without injury. Upon impact, they somehow manage to crouch down and wait for rescue. Unfortunately, this is not the norm. In most cases, the accidents are catastrophic and may result in death.
According to a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), rear underride crashes are a grave concern. In 2015, 427 occupants of passenger vehicles died from this type of accident. This number is remarkably up from prior years. The increase may be due to more big rigs on the roads.
Semis and tractor trailers are required to have rear underride guards in place. However, they are not always effective. An underride guard is essentially a metal bumper that hangs from the rear of the truck. Meanwhile, IIHS research and crash tests dispute the reliability of some of these guards. Apparently, the force of a crash can cause them to break and not serve their purpose.
What causes rear underride accidents to begin with? In some cases, it may be driver inattentiveness that caused the rear end collision. However, in many circumstances, the truck driver may be found negligent for one of the following reasons:
- Truck stopped short, and driver was unable to brake to avoid collision
- Big rig’s reflectors or brake lights were not working
- Semi or 18-wheeler was not equipped with safety guards
Rear underride accidents can occur in multi-vehicle pileups. As a consequence of a collision with another vehicle, a car may be pushed underneath a big rig. Weather conditions may also contribute to rear underride crashes.
Side Underride Accidents
Speed is not necessarily a factor in side underride accidents. The IIHS recently released a report concerning the need for side underride guards. At just 35 mph, a car can become stuck beneath an 18-wheeler. However, the impact changes entirely if the truck is equipped with side underride guards. In fact, the guards prevent the vehicle from going underneath the trailer.
Obviously, there are a number of factors that can cause a side underride crash. Remarkably, there are no federal regulations regarding side underride guard requirements. Be that as it may, a few major cities do have laws making side underride guards a necessity.