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Underride guards are steel bars that hang from the backs of trailers to prevent the front of a passenger vehicle from moving underneath the trailer during a crash. If trucks do not have underride guards or have weak underride guards, the effects can be devastating for drivers involved in accidents with these trucks. Without adequate protections, underride truck accidents are particularly dangerous because the occupant compartment gets crushed and there is no structure to absorb the energy of a crash. As a result, a car’s airbags and safety belts do not function properly and the passengers can suffer severe neck injuries and even death.
A review of data involving underride truck crashes shows that these types of accidents are quite deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that a total of 977 trucks were struck in rear fatal crashes in 2008 and 2009. This number presents 13% of all fatal truck accidents.
Most of the vehicles involved in these accidents were light vehicles, including passenger cars, minivans, SUVs, and light-duty pickups. Of these accidents, 150 occurred when there was no underride. More importantly, however, approximately 500 of the light vehicle fatalities occurred even with some underride protection in place
If you have been injured in an underride truck accident, it is important to reach out to an experienced injury lawyer in Philadelphia. Contact the truck accident attorneys at The Pearce Law Firm for help understanding your legal rights.
Research Shows that Underride Guards Are Insufficient
Trailer and truck manufacturers are required to comply with federal regulations governing the use of underride guards. These regulations, however, have been criticized as not going far enough to require stronger underride guards and to require better designs. Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study to examine the effectiveness of underride guards in trucks.
The study found that most trailers fail to prevent potentially deadly underride in crashes involving only a small portion of the truck’s rear. These are crashes that occur on the outer edge of the trailers. The Institute believes that current minimum strength and dimensions required for underride guards are inadequate. The Institute has been petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adopt tougher standards for underride guards.
Contact a Philadelphia Truck Underride Accident Lawyer to Understand Your Rights
If you have been in an underride truck accident and believe you may have a legal claim, our skilled truck accident attorneys can help you understand your legal rights. Our Philadelphia truck underride accident attorneys will help you investigate your case to determine whether you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Examples of injuries for which you may obtain compensation include medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and loss of wages.
Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at The Pearce Law Firm for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.