Underride accidents one of many risks from commercial trucks

Most people on the road already understand that commercial trucks can be dangerous. They have massive blind spots and difficulty stopping quickly. Their drivers have to complete more education and face more legal restrictions on driving, but they are still humans who make mistakes. Understanding the risk posed by commercial trucks allows you to be more proactive in sharing the road with this huge vehicles.

One common form of accident, which is actually preventable with proper safety equipment on a truck, is the underride accident. These kinds of collisions involve a smaller passenger vehicle ending up underneath a much larger commercial truck.

There is more than one kind of underride accident

There are three kinds of underride accidents, including frontal, side and rear underrides. Front underrides involve the cab or front end of the commercial truck, with the smaller vehicle often crushed beneath the tires of the larger commercial truck. These accidents often prove fatal because of the weight and size discrepancy between the two vehicles.

Rear underrides are similar, but reversed. In this kind of crash, the passenger vehicle hits the commercial truck from the rear. Federal law mandates that commercial trucks have rear underride guards, but some trucks may have weak, faulty or improperly sized guards, allowing a vehicle to demolish or miss the guard and end up under the truck.

Finally, there are side underride crashes. These happen when a passenger vehicle passed underneath the trailer of a commercial truck. Although the vehicle may initially remain between the axles of the truck, these collisions usually end with the smaller vehicle crushed.

Many forms of underride collisions are preventable

Both side and rear underride collisions are commonly deadly and typically preventable with proper equipment. Studies on frontal underrides have shown that special guards would only prevent a small percentage of the crashed from resulting in a fatality. However, it is possible to prevent the vast majority of both side and rear underride crashes with some investment in safety equipment.

Information about the need for stronger (and wider) rear underride guards and the benefit of side underrride guards is readily available from both private research groups and government organizations. However, because the federal government doesn't strictly enforce the need for these guards, trucking companies and drivers choose to go without to save a little bit of money.

When people sustain life-altering injuries or lose a loved one in a preventable automobile accident, they have a right to seek compensation for those losses. For transportation companies who value the bottom line more than human safety, having financial losses tied to a lack of proper underrirde guards may be the only motivation that prompts them to change their policies.

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