NHTSA Seeks Additional Safety Feature in Hopes of Reducing Fatal Under-Ride Accidents

Every accident involving a semi-truck has the potential to result in serious injury or death. However, under-ride accidents present some of the highest risks. An under-ride accident occurs when a car or smaller truck rear-ends a large semi-truck, which is higher off the ground. As the vehicle coming from behind collides with the truck, the force of the collision sometimes sends the smaller vehicle underneath the semi-truck. These accidents are notorious for causing serious head trauma and even decapitation in some cases.

Not only do under-ride accidents present a high risk, but also they are remarkably common. Of the 400 deaths each year caused by cars colliding with the rear of a semi-truck, roughly one-third of them are due to under-ride accidents.

Aside from driving safely, semi-truck owners are also responsible for keeping their vehicles safe. This includes performing all necessary maintenance as well as installing required safety features. When a truck driver fails to keep their truck safe, they may be held liable for any accident caused by their negligence.

Importantly, a truck driver does not necessarily need to be the one to have caused the accident in order to be found liable. For example, if a motorist is pushed underneath a semi-truck by a third party, both the third party as well as the truck driver may be potential defendants in a personal injury lawsuit.

Federal Regulations to Protect Against Under-Ride Accidents

For several years now, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has implemented requirements that large trucks have under-ride guards installed in order to prevent, or at least limit, the potentially catastrophic injuries that can result from these accidents. Recently, moreover, the Agency has announced that it will be recommending truck drivers install stronger under-ride guards to further protect motorists.

In the past, the NHTSA recommended that all trucks have an under-ride guard that can prevent a car from getting wedged underneath a truck in accidents involving speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. However, according to one industry news source, the NHTSA is now recommending that stronger under-ride guards are installed on all large trucks, such that they can withstand the force of an accident involving speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

It is estimated that 93% of all new semi-trucks sold already meet that requirement. However, older models may have to be outfitted with new under-ride guards that meet the newly announced standards. The cost of these potentially life-saving devices is just $229.

Have You Been Injured in an Under-Ride Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of truck accident, including an under-ride accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the failure of the truck driver to properly safeguard against that very kind of accident. To learn more about Maryland truck accident claims, and how you may be able to recover for your injuries, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Bus Involved in Fatal Accident: One Dead, 13 Injured, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 4, 2015.

Dump Trucks: Some of the Most Dangerous Vehicles on the Road, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 10, 2015.

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