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Betters standards could prevent truck underride collisions

An accident involving a big-rig truck often produces serious destruction to any other vehicle along with serious injuries to any driver who has been in such an unfortunate situation. The results often are even worse in truck underride accidents, potentially causing fatalities and catastrophic injuries.

What is an underride accident? It is a serious collision in which a car skids or slides underneath a large truck. The accidents can occur from the rear or side. Each year, an estimated 200 people die in underride collisions.

Awareness remains crucial

The debate had gone on for too long as victim advocates continue to call for the implementation of improved safety measures that could prevent truck underride accidents. Progress has continued to move slowly on this issue.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on Dec. 29 a proposed rule that could bring more attention to this matter. The FMCSA is an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the country’s trucking industry.

The proposed rule would amend federal safety regulations by adding truck rear impact guards to the list of safety measures that roadside inspectors must check. For decades, federal regulation has been in place requiring most trucks and trailers to have rear underride guards in order to prevent cars from sliding underneath the truck.

But a number of these trucks slip through unnoticed. At an event sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, inspectors checked an estimated 10,000 trailers and issues roughly 900 violations related to rear underride guards. In 500 of those instances, the rear guard was broken, cracked or missing, according to the Government Accountability Office.

When properly installed on the rear or side of an 18-wheeler, underride guards are potential lifesavers. Trucking companies and truck drivers must take such safety measures seriously. Their negligence can prove fatal.