There were almost 8,000 truck crashes in the state of Kentucky alone in 2013. Over 2,000 of those accidents resulted in injuries or fatalities. After looking at these numbers, there’s no denying the fact that semi and commercial truck accidents cause a lot of devastation on Kentucky’s roadways.
Many of the deadliest trucking accidents are crashes involving the underride of a semi-truck. These collisions happen when a passenger vehicle strikes a tractor trailer from the side. In worst-case scenarios, the top of the car becomes sheared off, often instantaneously decapitating the passengers inside. It’s estimated that at least 200 people are killed every year in the U.S. from underride crashes.
Rear underride accidents (the same type of crash, but occur when a car hits the back of a semi) are equally dangerous, but these are far less dangerous due to recent federal regulations that were passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These regulations force commercial truck manufacturers to equip their vehicles with rear truck guards which prevent cars from sliding underneath during a collision.
One question remains—Why aren’t similar side guards required to be placed on the sides of semi-trucks to prevent side underside crashes?
Some countries, like Europe, require sideguards to be placed on every commercial truck. This requirement has been in place there since 1989. Safety advocates and the families of truck accident victims have fought for mandatory truck guards in the United States since the 1960s. The fight has very much been an uphill battle, however.
The U.S. trucking agency argues that sideguards are insufficient, not cost-effective, weaken the truck trailer, and are too heavy. Truck safety advocates like the NHTSA argue that the industry is against sideguards purely due to the costs of upgrading our trucks. Here at the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we believe that safety should always take the priority over profit margins.
Congress, unfortunately, may also play a role in rejecting sideguard regulations that could prevent multiple truck accident fatalities every year. The Truck Trailers Manufacturers Association actively lobbies against sideguards and there is evidence suggesting that various trucking organizations may have donated money to congress to encourage members to not force a regulation.
Regardless of whether this evidence is true, it’s definitely within the power of congress to force the trucking agency to prioritize the safety of American citizens. Congress could prevent 200 truck crash deaths every year by enforcing a simple regulation that would put an end to underride fatalities.
Until this regulation is put into place, devastating truck accidents involving the underride will continue to happen. If you or someone you love was seriously injured or had their life lost in a semi-truck crash of any type—including underride accidents—contact Todd W. Burris to learn how we can fight back and force congress to prioritize the safety of our nation. With the help of a skilled Lexington, KY truck accident lawyer, you can send a message congress can’t ignore. Get in touch to learn more.