Underride crashes, where cars collide into the back of trucks and slide underneath them, are all too frequent occurrences in Georgia. The Truck Safety Coalition states that in 2011, rear impacts made up 19 percent of the nation’s fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. A total of 260 people were killed in underride crashes that year according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In 2017, federal lawmakers introduced the Stop Underrides Act, a bipartisan legislation that would require underride guards on the sides and front of trucks. While guards in the back are already prescribed, the bill seeks for those standards to be updated. It would also require all large trucks to undergo a yearly underride guard inspection and the DoT to review guard standards every five years.
For over a year, however, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has not taken any action on the bill, angering many safety advocates as well as the parents of underride crash victims. Critics say that back guards are not enough to prevent fatalities.
A hearing for the bill cannot be expected until January 2019 when the new Congress is seated. Meanwhile, safety advocates will be holding underride crash tests in Washington, D.C., in March 2019, and truck manufacturers are striving to improve the strength of underride guards.
Many trucking accidents arise because of negligence on one side or the other. In some cases, both sides are partially at fault. Victims might be able to receive compensation under personal injury law, so they may want a case evaluation from a lawyer. If the grounds are good, the lawyer may take on the case and hire crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties to build it up. Victims may choose to leave all negotiations to their lawyer.