• One Change to Trucks Could Save Lives
  • August 29, 2017
  • Trucks commonly populate the roads and are necessary to transporting goods around town and across the country. Despite these positive attributes, this also means that motorists driving smaller vehicles like cars are vulnerable around tractor-trailers and may be in danger of engaging in disastrous accidents that could result in damage to their vehicles and the development of personal and fatal injuries. One of the deadliest crashes involving a truck is when a car crashes into the side of the tractor-trailer, which is referred to as an “underride” crash.

    An underride crash occurs when a car’s hood slides underneath the side of the tractor-trailer, which leads to the windshield shattering, and the drivers and passengers sustaining injuries or even fatalities as a result. Underride crashes contribute to about half of all fatal truck accidents in the United States, and result in up to 750 fatalities per year, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In 2015, around 300 of over 1500 drivers and passengers sustained fatal injuries after their vehicles struck the side of a tractor-trailer.

    Design Change May Save Lives

    A simple design change to trucks, however, may save lives if implemented, the IIHS discovered. To decrease the amount of underride truck accidents, side underride guards or side skirts could be added to tractor-trailers as a barrier and way in which to lessen the severity of these accidents. The IIHS performed tests using one brand’s side guards for the underside of trucks, which is reinforced with metal ribs. Although trucks already use underride guards for the back of the trailers, apparently, they are not as solid or strong as the ones primed for the undersides of trailers.

    Recent test results from IIHS state that when solid side guards were affixed onto the sides of the tractor-trailers, underride wrecks could be prevented along with the fatalities that often accompany them. In the tests conducted, the side guards prevented cars traveling at about 35 miles per hour from completely sliding underneath the trailer, which may reduce the incidence of serious injuries and fatalities by 90 percent. When a less solid version of the skirt, primarily used for preventing air from diffusing underneath tractor-trailers, was used, it offered no barrier to the car.

    IIHS Recommendations

    The IIHS recommends that the government should require that truck manufacturers add side guards to tractor-trailers as a safety measure. Currently, no formal petition has been drawn up mandating that side guards become standard features on trucks until more research has been done. Plans to determine if the side guards prevent potentially serious or fatal injuries from occurring when cars travel at a much higher rate of speed have not yet been conducted.

    Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Victims of Truck Accidents

    If you or loved ones sustained personal injuries in a truck accident, call the skilled Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. With our experienced and highly skilled team of lawyers, we will review your case and commit to resolving your case and obtaining the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

    Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.