When you think about the most serious truck accidents, you probably envision a horrific head-on collision, as do most people. It is certainly true that a head-on truck accident is dangerous and often deadly. However, underride truck crashes are just as serious, if not more so.
What is an underride accident? This kind of crash occurs when a smaller motor vehicle slides underneath a tractor-trailer. As you might expect, underride truck accidents have the potential to flatten the top of smaller vehicles. For passengers and drivers, such an accident is often fatal as it can cause massive head trauma.
Earlier this year, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) conducted two 35 mph tests to determine what can happen in a side underride truck accident. To clarify, side underride means a smaller vehicle slides underneath the side of a truck. The results were significant. The first test involved the use of a side underride guard called AngelWing. The AngelWing bent when the impact occurred, but it prevented the car from sliding under the truck.
The second test involved the use of a fiberglass skirt designed only to improve a semi's aerodynamics. When the car struck the fiberglass skirt, it continued to move under the truck, which effectively sheared off the front half of the car's roof. This is precisely where the heads of the car's occupants would have been had this been a real truck accident.
Accident experts, including the IIHS, believe that side underride guards could prevent many of the fatalities that occur in truck accidents. Two years ago, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicated that it planned to adopt "more stringent standards." However, the administration has not yet improved the current standards geared toward underride accidents.
For victims in Oklahoma and elsewhere, it is too late to prevent the death of a loved one. All victims can do is try to use the law to address their loss and perhaps help prevent a similar tragedy from striking another family. A personal injury attorney can help in achieving this goal.
Source: Trucks.com, "IIHS Crash Tests Show Side Underride Guards on Trucks Save Lives," Clarissa Hawes, accessed Oct. 11, 2017