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Underride Guards Proving Faulty in Preventing Occupant Injury

Today’s semis and tractor-trailers do a decent job of working to keep passenger vehicles from sliding underneath them in the event of a traffic accident — but they could be doing better.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the standards for these underride guards are getting tougher, but they’re still not tough enough. Canada still has stronger regulations than the U.S.
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The problem is that these underride guards are really only effective in reducing the risks of injuries when a vehicle slams directly into the back of one of these large commercial vehicles. When a car slams into the side-rear portion of the truck — your chances don’t look so good.

Our Boston truck accident lawyers understand that these underride guards are meant to protect you. They’re the steel bars that you can find hanging from the back of tractor-trailers and other big rigs to help to keep you from underneath. Recently, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) improved these regulations, but they weren’t made tough enough. The IIHS is campaigning for tougher standards for existing requirements, while working to get these underride guards one more kinds of large vehicles — like dump trucks.

Canada has had tougher underride guard standards than us since 2007. Officials have been trying to shed light on this problem for years now, through more thorough underride crash tests.To see just how well these guards are working, officials with the IIHS recently conducted a crash test consisting of eight of the largest manufacturers in the business. All of the trailers involved had guards that met both Canadian and U.S. standards. The only difference was the positioning of these guards. Come to find out, the location of these guards can make all the difference.

Unfortunately Canadian trucks seemed to record better scores than ours in these tests.

Officials with the NHTSA report that there were more than 250 people who were killed in accidents with these large trucks because of underride issues. Although that’s a number that’s down from about 460 in 2004, it’s still a number that’s far too high. While officials would like to credit the decrease to tougher underride guards, they’re leaning more toward the fact the drivers have been out on our roadways less because of the struggling economy.

Underride guards or not — you need to be on your best behavior when traveling near these large tractor-trailers. Our passenger vehicles don’t stand much of a chance against these large, commercial carriers. It’s time to rely on our safe driving habits and not these guards.

Keep a safe distance from these vehicles when traveling along our state’s busy roadways. Remember that these vehicles move and function much different than our vehicles. Allow them plenty of time and space to navigate the street and to help to keep you safe out there.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for assistance. Call today for a free and confidential consultation at 1-877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Tanker Accident in Worcester Highlights Risks, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2013

Dump Truck Spills 100 Gallons of Fuel on Mass Roadway, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 18, 2012