Each year, more than 350 people are killed when their car strikes the back of commercial trucks and slides underneath. Safety standards exist to prevent these so-called under-ride accidents, but new studies show that these protections are not working.
Rear Impact Guards Are Largely Ineffective
Rear impact guards have been fastened to the backs of semi trucks and 18 wheelers in an effort to stop cars and prevent them from sliding underneath the truck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study to test the effectiveness of this safety device. The Institute took 2010 Chevy Malibu's and sent them traveling at 35 miles per hour into the back of parked trucks. The rear impact guards, which met United State's safety standards, gave way. The cars slid right under the trailers, crushing the vehicles. Had real occupants been in the vehicles instead of crash dummies, the Institute reports they likely would not have survived.
This test and others like it point to the ineffectiveness of rear impact guards because they are failing at relatively low speeds. The Institute believes standards need to be stronger so that rear-impact crashes do not need to result in serious injuries or death.
In Canada, rear impact guards are manufactured to be 75 percent stronger than those in the United States. When the same crash test was conducted with Canadian guards, these guards held up properly when the vehicles hit them.
One under-ride accident victim is now speaking out for stronger, more effective guards. For this victim, the accident has been life changing. She has required 40 plus surgeries and lost her jaw as well as part of her tongue.
Preventing Under-ride Accidents
Under-ride accidents can occur in rear-end collisions as well as side accidents. Side collisions are some of the most common types of under-ride accidents that result from the truck backing out of a drive way or into a heavily trafficked area. Drivers often do not see the trailer until it is too late.
It may seem like it would be easy to see a trailer blocking the road in front of you, but this is not always the case, especially at night. Due to the angle of headlight beams, a tractor's trailer can be impossible to notice until you are right upon it. This is a particular problem at night when there may be little to no lighting on the road to illuminate the trailer.
While modern trailers have some safety features designed to combat this problem, studies like the one discussed above point to the ineffectiveness of these designs. If you have been injured in an under-ride accident, consult with an attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options and protect your legal rights.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Experienced South Florida Truck Accident Attorneys
Under-ride accidents can result in serious injuries and even death. If you have been involved in a truck accident, the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are here to help. Our dedicated firm will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve from the at-fault trucker or trucking company. For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted truck accident victims across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida's top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.