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Drivers at risk of being pinned in trucking accidents

Motorists who get into an accident with a commercial sized truck generally suffer catastrophic injuries because smaller vehicles can get crushed underneath a truck. In recent years, safety precautions have been improved and have limited the chances of a driver of a car being trapped underneath the rear of a semi-truck in an accident. However, there is still a very real risk of a partial pinning known as “under-ride.”

In an under-ride collision, a passenger vehicle can get stuck under the rear or side of a truck. Semi trucks are mandated to have under-ride guards that prevent a passenger vehicle from sliding underneath during truck accidents, but recent research indicates that many under-ride guards are not strong enough.

That is why the National Transportation Safety Board is asking for industry-wide implementation of under-ride guard protection. They are asking that rear guards be made stronger and that side guards be required. The bumper standards and regulations currently in place for underside systems on commercial vehicles have not been updated since 1998.

The call for tougher standards cited research that more than 500 individuals each year are killed in crashes of this type. Under-ride accidents are extremely dangerous because they damage and disable components in passenger vehicles designed for protection, such as safety belts and airbags. When these designs fail, passengers are exposed to critical head and neck injuries. In many crashes, passengers may be trapped in the vehicle until help arrives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently considering the recommendations from the NTSB. Hopefully, they will determine that having stronger and more effective guards will be a good way to keep motorists safer in a crash with a truck.

Those injured in trucking accidents in Kentucky and elsewhere around the country, whether in an under-ride circumstance or not, may want to speak to an experienced attorney to understand their rights better. 

Source: WSB-TV, "NTSB recommending safety device on big rigs after Channel 2 investigation," April 14, 2014

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