The Stop Underrides Act Has Potential To Increase Truck Safety

big rig truckLegislation was recently introduced in the United States Congress to mandate placement of underride guards on the front and side of trucks to prevent cars moving beneath trucks in the event of a collision between a truck and a car.

Federal law currently requires the guards — which are often termed “underrides” in the industry— only for the back of trucks.

Stopping Underride Crashes

The congressional bill, called the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, has the potential to stop underride crashes, which are often fatal. During an underride crash, a car moves beneath the body of the truck, which sit considerable higher than most vehicles. Given the size of trucks such as semi- or tractor trailers, the car is often crushed by the weight of the truck. Drivers are passengers are often crushed or impaled in such accidents.

The type and position of an underride crash can render standard car safety equipment, such as airbags, virtually useless.

Victims in an underride crash often receive severe injuries to the head and neck, including decapitation. Even at low or close to no speed, an underride crash can result in death.

The Bill Would Mandate Inspection

An underride crash took the life of a New York state resident, Edward “Eto” Torres, when his car collided with a tractor-trailer on January 2 on I-90 East. As a result, New York Senator Charles Schumer has joined with his colleagues Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who co-sponsored the Stop Underrides Act, to urge that it be passed.

In addition to requiring trucks to have front and side underride guards installed, the bill would require that the rear underride guard be updated. Existing standards are outdated and do not work as effectively with contemporary standards, including crumple zones and airbag deployment sensors, as they should.

It would also mandate that all large trucks be routinely checked to see that the underride guards are installed properly, especially given recent advances in vehicle technology.

How a Veteran Truck Accident Lawyer can help

Underride crashes can lead to loss of life and limb. But frankly, so can any crash involving a truck. Because of their size and the potential to cross wide areas and lanes, truck accidents can imperil the driver, other drivers and passengers, pedestrians, and bystanders.

The causes of truck accidents can be complicated and not easy to discern. The truck, its loading, the driver, and weather conditions are just some of the elements that may have contributed.

If you need an experienced truck accident lawyer in New York or New Jersey, please call Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman at  (800) 711-5258. We have decades of experience investigating and litigating truck accidents and fighting for the rights of the injured and those left behind.

We will be happy to meet you at our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices. All initial consultations are complimentary.

Additional Resources on Underride Accidents & Legislation:

  1. “Following Fatal Accident on I-90, Schumer Pushes to Make Truck Rigs Safer for Cars Sharing the Roads.” Charles Schumer Senate Website. February 20, 2018. https://www.schumer.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/following-fatal-accident-on-i-90-schumer-pushes-to-make-truck-rigs-safer-for-cars-sharing-the-roads-senator-demands-trucks-be-equipped-with-crash-absorbing-underride-guards-to-protect-drivers-and-passengers-and-to-help-prevent-future-fatal-accidents
  2. “Rubio, Gillibrand Introduce Legislation to Help Keep Drivers Safe from Fatal Tractor-Trailer Truck Accident.” Marco Rubio Senate Website. https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=48A97C09-7D4B-45D7-B2EE-AA4BF9395816