Legislation addressing underride collisions gets third look

Legislation addressing underride collisions gets third look

| Jun 1, 2021 | Truck Accidents |

You may not know what an underride collision is, but it is something that could cause harm to you and your family.  An underride collision is when a smaller vehicle skids or slides underneath the back or sides of a large truck.  The trucking industry has fought safety legislation to prevent such collisions. However, in March, federal lawmakers reintroduced for the third time legislation requiring the installation of underride guards on the sides and front of newly made tractor-trailers — legislation that would reduce the rate of these types of collisions.

The presence of the iron safety bars may prevent horrendous underride accidents. Many motorists and passengers involved in underride accidents wind up suffering from fatal or catastrophic injuries. Why has the trucking industry lobbied so hard to prevent the implementation of these measures? The industry contends that legislation requiring safety bars would prove ineffective and costly for trucking companies and independent truckers.

Safety guards may prevent underride accidents

The Stop Underrides Act has gotten another look from lawmakers in Washington. In a bipartisan effort, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the bill on March 5. Along with requiring underride guards on the sides and front of tractor-trailers, the bill also improves standards on a truck’s rear-guards, already required by law.

Victim and safety advocates have worked for years to persuade lawmakers to consider such regulations. These groups, though, admitted that getting the latest version of the bill introduced included a major concession. As a result, only newly built tractor-trailers would be required to have underride guards. This does not address the millions of large trucks already on U.S. roads.

Every year, hundreds of people die from underride collisions

Each year, hundreds of people die in underride collisions with large trucks. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has indicated that, from decade of 2008 to 2017, an average of 219 fatalities a year occurred in these types of accidents.

The GAO noted that these numbers accounted for less than 1% of road deaths in the country. However, the GAO suspects that fatal underride collisions remain underreported due to discrepancies in how such data is collected and used by municipalities and states.

Contact your legislator if you feel that this legislation would benefit motorists on the roadway.