Drivers in Atlanta know how intimidating it can be to be around large commercial trucks. Sometimes, motor vehicles will collide with a large truck and slide underneath it. This is called an underride crash, and it can immediately render a vehicle’s safety features useless, while victims may sustain head and neck injuries, including even decapitation.
At least 300 people every year die in underride crashes. While federal law does require rear underride guards on large commercial trucks, there is a push to update these guidelines and expand them to include front and side guards. A bipartisan bill was introduced in both the House and Senate that may pave the way for this change.
The bill is called the Stop Underrides Act, and it was introduced on March 5, 2019. It is being touted as “commonsense legislation” and has the support of safety groups like the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the Truck Safety Coalition and the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero Coalition.
However, there are some dissenting voices. In a March 7 press release, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association stated that requiring front and side guards will result in little safety benefit and that, rather, the cost of complying with the bill will only burden trucking companies. With the guards, truckers will have trouble navigating high curbs, grade crossings and other road conditions.
Rules and regulations do not prevent truckers from being negligent behind the wheel, but those who are hurt in trucking accidents through no fault of their own may be able to recover damages. Even those who were partially to blame for the crash can be eligible, so victims may want to have a lawyer evaluate the case. A lawyer might hire investigators to gather proof of the trucker’s negligence before heading to negotiations with the trucking company’s own legal team.