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Side Underride Deaths Could be Eliminated

Cars have to share the road with huge commercial trucks, and those giants of the road pose an obvious danger. Given the amount of traffic and the number of tractor-trailers on the road, accidents are inevitable. But there are some accidents that could be eliminated if highway safety requirements were updated appropriately.

The Side Underride Crash

A side underride collision is a collision in which a car slams headlong into the side of a semi-truck and then continues crashing into the truck’s underside. This kind of accident often shears the top completely off the car – to horrific effects for its occupants. In fact, government statistics confirm that over 200 people are killed this way each year and that these deaths could be prevented if commercial trucks were required to install side guards.

Mansfield Bars

This is not a new issue: Jayne Mansfield, the blond Hollywood bombshell of decades gone by, suffered a fatal rear-collision with a commercial tractor-trailer that began the outcry for rear- and side-trailer protection. It took decades, however, before rear guards (Mansfield bars) became mandatory. Despite the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1 (NTSB) has determined that side protection would save lives and has issued a recommendation that all newly manufactured trailers have side protection systems installed, side guards – to this day – are not a requirement.

Opposition by Lobby

The trucking industry’s lobbying association, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association,2 continues to oppose this side-protection requirement for a variety of reasons:

  • The additional expense;
  • The inherent technological challenge of creating side guards that don’t weaken the trailer or diminish its physical integrity; and
  • The dangerous increase in semi-truck weight.

All of this is in spite of the fact that the Truck Safety Coalition agrees that side guards would save lives. Despite lobbying that denounces side guards, science marches on, and lighter-weight side-guard prototypes with promising results continue to be developed.

Safety First

Barring side guards, side-underride accidents are disastrous for the cars that are involved. If you travel by car, educate yourself and arm yourself with the rules of safe driving. Safe driving practices are always your best defense.

If you or someone you care about has suffered a semi-truck accident, seek expert legal counsel as soon as possible. 

Contact an Experienced Minnesota Truck Crash Attorney Today

If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To schedule a free consultation with a Minnesota truck accident lawyer, call McEwen & Kestner, PLLC today at 800-732-3070 or contact us online.

1 https://www.ntsb.gov/Pages/default.aspx

2 http://www.ttmanet.org/

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