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Side-mounted underride guards could save lives

According to testing, underride guards for trailers could reduce injuries and fatalities on Pennsylvania highways. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which conducted the testing, said that these guards could provide the same safety benefits as rear-mounted guards.

Side-mounted underride guards are installed on the sides of trailers to prevent passenger cars from sliding under them in an accident. The testing showed that, even at just 35 miles per hour, passenger cars end up going under trailer, causing the top of the vehicle to be sheared off. This puts the driver and passengers at serious risk for injuries that are likely to be fatal. The vehicles can become wedged under the trailers, making it difficult for quick rescue. Testing with an underride guard placed on the trailer showed that, although the underride guard became bent, it stopped the passenger vehicle from sliding underneath.

Mandates that say that semi truck trailers must have a rear-mounted underride guard are moving through the federal regulatory process, though there was no information on when those mandates may become mandatory. The testing completed by the IIHS also showed that there was also a need for mandates regarding the side-mounted underride guards.

Due to the forces often involved in a truck accident, occupants of smaller vehicles are likely to suffer serious or even life-threatening injuries. In some cases, those involved in the crash may not survive if the injuries are severe enough. If the truck driver was found to have been negligent or if the truck was not properly equipped as mandated by law, the family of the deceased individual could potentially have the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit agasint the at-fault parties. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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