Highway safety advocates are upset about a proposed new rule aimed at reducing death and injury from truck underride crashes. An underride crash is when a passenger vehicle slides under a large truck or tractor-trailer in a collision.
“Truck underride collisions can be deadly to passenger-vehicle occupants, even at low speeds. An underride occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with a straight truck or the trailer of a truck-tractor semi-trailer combination (truck) and runs under the truck, sometimes sheering the roof off the vehicle and killing the occupants, known as a ‘passenger compartment intrusion’,” explains John Glennon at CrashForensics.com. “If the vehicle occupants are more fortunate, the impact will occur near one of the truck axles, preventing the vehicle from going completely under the truck.”
In fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 97 percent of the deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The main method of reducing the damage to a passenger vehicle from truck underride crashes is by means of a rear impact guard. It’s the square tubular steel structure under the rear doors of trucks between the carriage and the road. It is designed to lessen injuries and fatalities by absorbing some of the collision’s energy and limiting how far beneath the back of a truck a car can go in a collision.
Truck Underride Crashes
The proposed standard would require rear impact guards to “provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers” at 35 mph (56 km/hour).” Critics say the new rule is meaningless because most commercial vehicles already meet that standard – which they say is insufficient.
“This final rule…amounts to nothing less than regulatory malpractice,” Claybrook said. “Instead of improving protections to reduce underride fatalities and injuries, the agency has gone backward by issuing a rule that 94% of trailers already meet,” said Joan Claybrook, a safety advocate, and a former NHTSA administrator. “As such, NHTSA has lowered the bar on public safety instead of ensuring it. This is an affront to the families of underride victims who have been working so hard to have the standard updated.”
The NHTSA said existing passenger protection technologies in passenger vehicles are sufficient to absorb enough of the force from truck underride crashes to “reduce significantly” the risk of fatality and serious injury.
Truck underride crashes can lead to devastating loss and injury. If you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident, an Orlando car accident attorney may be able to help you recover your losses. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation with a top attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida