An underride truck accident occurs when a passenger car rear-ends a large truck, and the impact of the crash forces the top of the car underneath the body of the truck. These accidents are very dangerous to the occupants of the passenger vehicle because they can result in head trauma, neck injury, or even decapitation. Safety features like airbags and crumple zones can do very little to reduce the chances of injury.
In 2011, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study of crashes in which a passenger vehicle rear-ended a large truck. About half of 115 rear-end crashes resulted in severe or catastrophic underride injuries. Only 20 percent of crashes resulted in no underride damage.
Underride guards can help prevent underride accidents. Underride guards are steel bars that hang from the back of trailers to prevent smaller vehicles from moving under the trailer during a Georgia trucking accident. However, underride bars don’t always work, and not all vehicles are required to have guards.
IIHS engineers tested override guards on trailers from the eight largest trailer manufacturers. The trailers were put through a series of crash tests. In each crash test, a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu rear-ended a parked truck at 35 miles per hour.
In the first test, the car was aimed directly at the center of the tractor trailer. All eight underride guards were able to successfully prevent an underride accident. In the second test, only half of the car overlapped with the trailer. Seven of the underride guards passed. For the third test, the overlap was reduced to 30 percent, the smallest amount of overlap likely to cause the truck to strike the car occupant’s head. This time, only one trailer passed the test. It was made by the Canadian manufacturer Manac.
The IIHS has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to create tougher standards and to consider requiring underride bars on other types of large trucks, including dump trucks and construction vehicles.
The NHTSA has not changed the rules, but many trailer manufacturers are already installing stronger guards. These guards work well, except at the edges of trailers.
If someone you love was injured or killed in a Georgia underride trucking accident, it is a good idea to speak with an Atlanta truck accident attorney. The lawyer will investigate the crash and determine if any safety regulations, including underride bar regulations, were violated. If they were, the attorney will help you and your family obtain justice and monetary compensation for your loss. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, contact Kaufman Law, P.C.