Life or Death Determined by Inches in a Trucking Accident


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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are tackling a huge problem that few people know about until it's too late. According to recent data, whether a person lives or dies during a trucking accident can largely be determined by just a few inches. That's because those few inches can determine whether a passenger vehicle slides under the truck during the collision. When it happens, it's referred to as underride, and 88% of fatal side-impact collisions and 82% rear-end impacts involve it. Understanding Underride Underride is a huge part of why so many of large truck collisions are deadly, because the truck literally crushes the passenger compartment. With no place to move to, the occupants perish inside. This is the reason why truck trailers have a metal shield which extends down off the rear of the trailer. It's called an underride guard and it prevents vehicles from becoming entrapped, provided the collision occurs at just the right angle. Underride Guard Failure Of the trailers that IIHS has studied, which include Great Dane, Hyundai, Manac, Stoughton, Strick, Utility, Vanguard and Wabash, all of them are effective at preventing underride when the passenger vehicle collides squarely with the guard. However, when only half of the vehicle impacts with the truck, only 50% of the trailers provide underride protection. Only one of those tested, the Manac, provided protection when 30% of the vehicle overlapped with the trailer. The main difference is that Manac underride guard extends an additional 5-inches on either side and costs the company about 20 dollars more to make. Causes of Underride Faulty or ineffective underride guards contribute to the death toll, but there are many factors which influence whether a car will become trapped underneath a trailer. Most underride collisions occur at night when visibility becomes an issue. Because large trucks have lights positioned in different areas and can often be dirty or tarnished, other drivers have difficulty gauging where they are on the road, especially at highway speeds. This can be even more deadly when a fast-moving passenger vehicle comes upon a slow-moving semi in the dark. The IIHS only tests underride guards at 35 mph, not at high rates of speed like one would encounter on the highway in a Charleston trucking accident. However, underride also occurs when the driver of the trapped passenger is not at fault. This is frequently seen in multiple-vehicle collisions and also when a large truck changes lanes, crosses a street, or attempts a U-turn.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to a collision with a commercial vehicle, there may be hidden contributing factors. An experienced attorney can help uncover multiple causes and may be able to assist you in getting a fair settlement from all responsible parties. Don't settle with an insurance agency or the transportation company itself without having a consultation. Please use our online form or speak with one of our attorneys directly by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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