Large commercial trucks travel the highways and byways throughout the nation. Vehicles carrying trailers more than 50 feet long bring goods to consumers from border to border. However, not all of them make it to their respective designations.
Fleets of powerful vehicles making contact with much smaller vehicles result in what can only be described as gruesome collisions that see drivers and passengers slide beneath the commercial truck. Known as underride collisions, the outcome is usually serious injuries and fatalities suffered by hundreds of Americans.
Countless fatalities on roads nationwide
In the face of countless and outright horrific motor vehicle accidents over numerous decades, federal regulators continued to drag their feet on enacting an underride rule since the 1960s, representing a solution to stem the deadly tide. Valid evidence that even had the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was supposedly ignored.
Even more alarming was the failure to act, let alone acknowledge the sheer scope of the problem, an oversight they finally publicly owned. Records also reveal that the agency was working in concert with the trucking industry and their lobbyists, who claimed the high expense of installing underride guards, the economic impact, and numerous obstacles inherent in the NHTSA bureaucracy.
Supporters of rear and underride guards claim that the solution is simple and cost-effective. But is it too little, too late? In spite of the most cutting-edge technology, underride crashes are nearly impossible to avoid due to the sheer height differential. Worst-case scenarios see smaller vehicles colliding into the bottom edge of the trailer, with the airbag often failing to deploy.
Accidents can take various forms. Some occur due to the smaller car operator is driving negligently by distracted, speeding, or texting drivers. Conversely, truckers can also drive too fast or violate regulations involving mandated breaks and the overall safe operation of their respective tractor-trailers.