Underride crashes are both gruesome and far too common. Underride crashes occur when a car hits the back of a truck’s trailer, and, because of the trailer’s height, is forced underneath the trailer. This can shave the top off of a car or completely compact it. Additionally, it can keep airbags from deploying. For this reason, underride accidents are almost always fatal, and claim an average of 219 lives a year, although experts suspect the actual figure is much higher.
As it turns out, these crashes have been the result of a design flaw that the trucking industry has long been aware of — the lack of underride protection in the form of rear-impact guards. Testing has shown time and time again that adequate underride protection would prevent these kinds of accidents from occuring and save a lot of lives. However, the trucking industry has resisted adopting the measures, which would increase the cost of manufacturing truck trailers. Some manufacturers have taken measures since 2011 to add more rear-impact guards. However, with a lack of quality control and enforceable regulations, it is impossible to control quality or ensure that the guards being added function effectively. Testing shows that installing a rear-impact guard in the bottom frame is far more effective than older models which put the guards too high. Placing the guards lower allows airbag and crumple-zone technology to deploy, offering far more protection to the passengers inside of the car.
Marianne, her son, and her two daughters were driving on a highway in May 2013 when traffic slowed to a halt. Marianne began to slow down, but the semi-truck behind her was unable to come to a stop, and collided with her car, pushing it forward into another semi-truck in front of her. Her car was forced under the tractor trailer in front of her, which lacked any underride protection. Marianne and her son survived, but sadly, her two daughters did not. One died instantly and another a few days later, as a result of her injuries. Marianne has since been advocating, along with thousands of others, for regulations requiring effective underride protections so that these kinds of deaths can be avoided.
Fighting for Change
Safety advocates have been working with members of Congress to push for regulations about underride protection. They say that while newer trucks are being made with underride protection, there are still millions of trucks operating on highways all over the country that lack any underride protection whatsoever, and that are not required to have any. The advocates assert that there is no lack of evidence that this manufacturing defect is causing countless unnecessary deaths and injuries. The problem is the trucking industry’s resistance to making a change that would cost them money. It is reported that previous attempts to get legislation in this area have not been successful because of pressure from the trucking industry. However, advocates are optimistic. President Biden’s own wife and daughter were killed in a collision with a semi-truck in the 1970’s, and advocates believe this may help him see the importance of legislating this issue.
We are Here to Help
If you or a loved one have been injured in an underride accident with a semi-truck, you do not have to shoulder the burden alone. The truck accident law firm of Eric Ramos Law, PLLC, is here to help. Schedule your free consultation today. There is no fee unless we win.