The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently concluded their first study of the effectiveness of side underride guards on semis. IIHS tested the difference in crash outcomes between a truck equipped with a side underride guard and a truck only with the fiberglass aerodynamic flap most trucks have on them. Even at the moderate speed of 35mph, the difference in outcomes for the car (and any hypothetical passengers) was significant. The AngelWing side underride protector was dented by the passenger vehicles in the study, but the car’s airbags were able to deploy and those within would have had at least a chance of survival. In the accident test with no underride protector, the cars went underneath the trailer of the semi, crushing the front seats.
In 2015, 301 vehicle occupants were killed in two-vehicle crashes with a tractor-trailer when their vehicles struck the side of a tractor-trailer. This compares with the 292 people who died when their passenger vehicles struck the rear of a tractor-trailer. All trailers are legally required to be equipped with a rear underride guard to prevent cars that can’t avoid colliding with them from sliding underneath the back of the truck. Many injuries and fatalities are prevented by this protection each year, and more could be prevented if side underride guards also became a legal requirement for trailers. We hope the findings of this IIHS study can be applied to make the roadways a safer place for all drivers and passengers.
Have you been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle? Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has an experienced team of semi accident attorneys who can help you explore your options.