When large trucks traveling at high speeds become involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle, the results are often devastating.
Truck accidents that involve a smaller vehicle colliding with a truck from the rear-end result in a truck underride accident. In a truck underride accident, the smaller vehicle that hits from the rear goes partially or completely under the truck or the trailer of the truck. At times, the force of the collision can cause the colliding vehicle to go underneath the protruding trailer and ride under as far as the tires, causing severe damage to the smaller vehicle.
Truck Underride Accidents
In truck underride accidents, the smaller vehicle gets crushed under the truck, damaging the vehicle’s windshield, roof, and hood. This often results in severe injuries or trauma-related fatalities to the passengers.
- There were 950 trucks involved in fatal rear-end crashes between 2008 and 2009.
- In about 75% of light vehicle–truck crashes, there was some amount of underride involved.
- Fifty percent of these crashes involved smaller vehicles going under more than halfway beyond the hood.
Requirement for Underride Guards
To prevent underride accidents involving trucks, trucks and trailers are required to be fitted with underride guards, horizontal metal bars that extend below the lower edges of the truck, preventing smaller vehicles from going underneath the trailer in case of a collision. The specifications of these standards, however, are not always adhered to by some trucking companies.
- As per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), all trucks manufactured need to be fitted with underride guards.This standard does not apply to trucks manufactured before 1998.
- According to the Bureau of Motor Carriers, safety guards should be placed no more than 22 inches from the ground.
- Trucks should have well placed reflective tape or reflectors.
Safety guards that do not meet these requirements are not as effective at very high speeds, when risks of underride accidents are higher. They do not offer protection if the collision takes place on the side of the truck, at an angle, or at the corner of the trucks rear-end.
Injuries Caused by Underride Accidents
Underride accidents cause extremely severe injuries. Passengers involved in underride accidents face the risks of brain or head injuries, amputation, and physical damage that are almost always life-altering and in a number of cases, fatal.
Seeking Legal Assistance – Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer
Trucking companies who do not follow the established guidelines for underride guards can be held responsible for losses and damages incurred. If you or a loved one has been in an underride accident, consult a Chicago truck accident lawyer from Willens & Baez. We are experienced in handling these cases and can help you secure rightful compensation. For a free consultation, call us at (312) 957-4166.