Whether driving locally in Maryland or driving across the country, a semi-truck poses a significant risk to other drivers on the road. Many of these accidents are fatal, with more than 4,000 semi-related fatalities happening every year. One of the most frequent causes of death is also one of the most preventable. Adding semi-truck side guards could reduce the number of deaths caused when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the massive semi.
Why do side underride accidents occur?
A side underride accident are types of truck accidents that occur when smaller passenger vehicles crash into the side of a semi-truck. Due to the force of the accident, the vehicle gets propelled underneath the semi-truck. These accidents most often occur when the semi makes a turn or attempts to cross a highway. Lane changes can also result in a side underride accident.
What type of injuries occur due to side underride accidents?
During a side underride accident, the entire top of the passenger vehicle can be torn off, which results in severe injuries. Examples of these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Side guards could help prevent fatal accidents
Side guards are metal sheets placed between the front and rear tires. The purpose of these side guards is stop smaller vehicles from sliding underneath the truck during an accident. In Europe, these safety features are required on trucks, but in the U.S., they are not. Consumer advocacy groups and Congress have advocated making the side guards mandatory, but the trucking industry fights against such measures due to the believe that the side guards will be too costly.
Side guards can save hundreds of lives every year
At least 200 people die every year due to a side underride collision. These deaths and the devastating injuries that occur from these accidents could be stopped with national legislation, but the trucking industry’s profits stand in the way.