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Underride guards could save lives in truck accidents


When it comes to an accident between an 80,000-pound semi-truck and a standard automobile, it should come as no surprise to drivers in Pennsylvania that due to sheer physics and size disparity the standard automobile usually doesn't stand a chance. Oftentimes these types of accidents are fatal. So, motorists may wonder if there is any way that semi-trucks can be made safer, should an accident occur.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently performed a study on semi-trucks. The study examined "underride guards" that are connected to the bottom sides of a semi-truck. The point of these underride guards is to prevent automobiles that strike the semi-truck on its side from being forced under the side of the semi-truck. The study found that underride guards could potentially prevent hundreds of deaths.

Underride accidents can be deadly because the top of the automobile is sheared off, meaning that even if motorists are wearing their safety belts or even if air bags are deployed, motorists are not protected. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2015 around 300 people in a standard automobile lost their lives in an accident in which the vehicle they were in collided with the side of a semi-truck.

Despite the fact that the trucking industry is aware of this issue, and despite the fact that stiffer safety standards have been sought by experts, the trucking industry has not taken action on this issue. This is unfortunate, as it is estimated that installing underride guards on the sides of semi-trucks would only cost between $50 to $100 per trailer.

It remains to be seen if the trucking industry will take action on this important safety issue. If a person in Pennsylvania is injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important that their legal rights are upheld.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Truck trailers can (easily) be made safer," July 12, 2017

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