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Reducing commercial truck underride accidents

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration hopes to decrease commercial truck underride crash-related fatalities on roadways in Connecticut and across the country by considering new safety proposals requiring truck companies to install underride guards on the sides of their trucks. By law, commercial trucks are only required to have rear underride guards.

Because large commercial trucks are not required to have side underride guards, they pose a serious danger of underride crashes. Such accidents often end up in fatalities, since the top part of passenger vehicles are typically crushed when they slide or roll below a large truck. The agency is also considering setting new standards that would improve the quality and type of underride guards because many of them are cheaply made and cannot effectively stop vehicles from passing below the truck. The agency is taking comments from the public and safety experts.

Installing strong underride barriers on the sides and back of trucks may prevent passenger cars from sliding under the truck, which often causes motorists to suffer life-threatening injuries when their car is crushed or becomes trapped below the truck. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, more than 5,000 people died in underride accidents from 1994 to 2014. The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine claims that side crash fatalities reported in 2013 were actually three times more than the numbers reported by the FARS.

While the failure to have a side underride guard may have contributed to the severity of injuries that were suffered in a big rig accident, the collision itself may have been caused by the negligence of the truck driver. If that is the case, injured victims may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation from the driver and the trucking company for the losses that they have sustained.

Source: Justice News Flash, "The NHTSA Considers New Safety Standards To Underride Guards On Trucks", Oct. 17, 2016

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