Rear-End Tractor-Trailer Collisions: FYI

When it comes to rear-end traffic collisions between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, the passengers of the latter can often suffer serious or even fatal injuries – even if the accident occurs at relatively low speeds.

For the last few decades, underride guardshave become standard on the backs of semi-trucks to minimize injuries in the event that the passenger vehicle rear ends the semi truck. However, analysts have found that underride guards are breaking with the impact, allowing the car’s vehicle cabin to be crushed as it collides with the back of the large truck. This is especially deadly in lower-riding passenger vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 423 people die every year when passenger cars rear-end tractor-trailer trucks. In a study that the Shultz & Myers Blog recently on, Canadian researchers found that the widely used under-ride guards are poorly designed. The researchers tested the results against the more stringent Canadian standards for underride guards and found that the Canadian design was far more durable.

The IIHS has shown evidence that tractor-trailers in the U.S. should have to have under-ride guards similar to those that meet the Canadian standard in order to prevent more fatalities when passenger cars rear-end the trucks. Having these guards will help prevent the cabin of the car from being crushed and potentially saving the lives of those in the lower riding vehicle. Without stricter regulations on the under-ride guards, the fatality and injury rate will not decrease.

Under Ride Truck Accidents

There’s an old wive’s tale that no matter what, a crash is automatically the fault of the person in the back. While it is sometimes true, liability may not be so black and white. If the truck in today’s incident did not have an adequate under-ride guard, it could be argued that the truck company contributed – at least partially – to the severity of the injuries sustained.

There are so many specific details involved in every case that it truly is difficult to speculate without all of the information. What’s important in any crash is that you talk to a personal injury lawyer before talking to the other driver’s or the trucking company’s insurance adjuster. A personal injury attorney can help prepare victims or family members on what to expect, and hopefully, provide clarity in an unbelievably overwhelming situation.