Side underride crashes with tractor trailers kill 200 people per year nationwide. After a recent accident in New York, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has called for the federal government to require trailers to be equipped with side guards. However, the federal government still has not taken decisive action on the matter.
What are side underride accidents?
In a side underride crash, a vehicle crashes into the long side of a tractor trailer. It usually hits between the axles, where there is nothing to stop the bottom of the vehicle from moving even after the top part has been sheared off.
As a result, side underride crashes often result in decapitation for the driver and passengers.
Senator Schumer decided to push for federal action on side underride crashes after an accident in Canton, NY, killed four people this July. The driver of a milk tanker lost control of his vehicle on I-81, causing the tanker to swerve and jack-knife. Seconds later, two cars hit the underside of the trailer. The three occupants of the first vehicle died first, followed by the driver of the second car.
Side guards save lives
If successful, Senator Schumer’s proposal would require all tractor trailers to be equipped with side guards. These guards would block off the trailer’s main body on both sides. They are designed to prevent the worst parts of the side underride crashes by stopping cars before they plow under the trailers.
Recent tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggest that the side underride guards are a highly effective way of saving lives. In the tests, performed earlier this year, two cars were crashed into the sides of two trailers at 35 miles per hour. One of these trailers was equipped with an underride guard, while the other one was not.
In the test without the underride guard, the car ran under the trailer and half of the upper assembly was sheared off. In an accident of this kind, it’s almost certain that the car’s driver and front passenger would have died on impact.
In the test with the side underride guard, the car’s front portion was damaged and the underride guard was bent, but this sort of accident would not be likely to be fatal on a real highway. IIHS chief research officer David Zuby says, “Our tests and research show that side underride guards have the potential to save lives.”
If Senator Schumer is successful, side underride guards will be saving lives in the future.
Contact our Firm.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a tractor trailer, the Connecticut personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. can help. Time is of the essence in these cases, so it is important to reach out to us as soon as possible. Our legal team will review your case and determine your best course of action moving forward.
The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. represents clients in the greater New Haven area and the entire state of Connecticut. Call us today at (203) 865-6414 to learn more about what we can do for you.