Underride accidents are some of the most disturbing and deadly trucking accidents. They are not as likely as rollover accidents to involve multiple vehicles and claim multiple victims, but they are typically fatal, decapitating or dismembering, and result in horrible injuries. Underride accidents are preventable when safety equipment is installed and used properly on large commercial trucks.
How an Underride Accident Can Occur
Underride accidents are possible when the bottom of the truck’s trailer is just the right height off the ground to allow the engine compartment, side of the vehicle, or the trunk area of a car to pass underneath so that all of the force of the accident is to the occupant space of the car which has very little reinforcement or support.
The top of the vehicle is crushed or sheared off, and the occupants have virtually no protection.
Most underride accidents involve the car hitting the truck. These may be rear-end collisions, or side-impact where the car t-bones a truck that is stopped across the lane of traffic due to poor visibility. Underride accidents also occur when a truck changes lanes and hits a car that is in its blind spot.
The current laws meant to prevent underride accidents have not been very effective. At this time, underride guards/bars on trucks, designed to prevent this type of collision and injury, are not required by law.
Since 1993, all new trucks have been required to have reflective tape on the sides and rear so that other cars can see them. When the tape gets dirty, as it usually does in real driving conditions, it is no longer visible.
Since 1996, the bumpers of new trucks have to be 22 inches off the ground or less. However, many of the bumpers collapse on impact and fail to deliver the protection the law intends.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, please contact our Atlanta tractor trailer accident attorneys today. Your initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay unless we recover on your behalf.