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Tractor-Trailer “Underride”: Dangers of Cars Sliding Under Trucks During Accidents Leads to New Safety Recommendations

“Underride” is the term used when a passenger car slides under the side or rear of the container of a big-rig. Think about the height of your car compared to the bottom of a massive tractor-trailer and you can envision what “underride” is. The differences in the height between car bumpers and tractor-trailer undercarriages can lead to devastation when a car hits the rear or side of a tractor-trailer. Along with blind spots, “underride” issues are some of the larger dangers unique to tractor-trailers and semi-trucks.

In an effort to reduce the numerous catastrophic injuries and fatalities caused every year by these issues, the National Transportation Safety Board in early April issued seven recommendations urging the National Highway Safety Administration to take action to improve the safety of tractor-trailers.

Underride Collisions

The NTSB’s recommendations focused in part on side collisions with tractor-trailers. According to the NTSB, collisions with the sides of tractor-trailers result in about 500 deaths each year and many of these deaths involved side underride. “Side underride collisions are an important safety problem because they defeat crumple zones and prevent air bag deployment, both vital safety advances in improving protection of passenger vehicle occupants during crashes,” the NTSB said.

The recommendations call for a requirement that newly manufactured tractor-trailers be equipped with side underride protection systems, and that revisions be made to improve trailer rear underride guard standards to better protect passenger car occupants from fatalities and serious injuries.

Blind Spots

Tractor-trailers have blind spots that reduce the ability of drivers to see other vehicles and road users. A study by the NTSB found that this limited field of view can increase the risk of death or injury among passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists when drivers of tractor-trailers change lanes, make turns, or back up.

To combat these blind spot dangers, the NTSB is recommending a combination of better mirrors, such as crossover convex mirrors, as well as requiring all new trucks to be equipped with new technology such as side view assistance systems that monitor a truck’s blind spot with sensors, and rearview cameras and monitors.

While it remains to be seen whether these recommendations will be implemented, any efforts to improve the safety of tractor-trailer trucks and reduce the likelihood of serious injuries and deaths should be supported.

Nugent & Bryant: Your Connecticut Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers

At Nugent & Bryant, we have extensive experience representing individuals and families who have suffered serious injuries and death as a result of a tractor-trailer crash. We have worked hard to build a reputation as one of Connecticut’s premier law firms advocating for accident victims’ rights, including the rights of those injured in collisions with tractor-trailers. We are an exceptional law firm that has been achieving results for our clients over 30 years. If you have suffered a personal injury or catastrophic injury, call us today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation.