Preventing North Carolina Truck Crashes: IIHS Says Standards to Prevent Underride Crashes Aren’t Working

March 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina truck crash law firm works with families where a loved has been seriously injured in a traffic accident with a large truck. As the media reported last year, North Carolina ranked number six in the nation because of the number of tractor-trailer crashes that occur in the state. Now, there is more news for concern.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the rear impact guards attached to the back of big rigs that are supposed to prevent cars that crash into the back of a large truck from sliding underneath it aren’t working too well. The IIHS announced its findings after conducting its own tests. In one test, a 2010 Chevy Malibu moving at 35 miles per hour slid right under the trailer as its rear impact guards gave way during the rear-end collision. If the vehicle had been carrying people rather than dummies, everyone likely would have died.

IIHS President Adrian Lund says it is clear that the standards need to be strengthened. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it is aware of the seriousness of the truck underride issue, which it is studying right now.

Truck underride crashes kill about 423 people a year. Over 5,000 auto occupants are injured. One reason that these collisions happen is that most cars are lower to the ground while trailers are usually higher. This makes it easy for a car to get under the trailer and often, it is the smaller vehicle’s windshield and roof pillars that get the full force of impact.

Lund notes that even if a car has earned the best scores in frontal crash tests, if the truck’s under-ride guard doesn’t do its job, the consequences for vehicle occupants can be deadly. Decapitation is also likely. The IIHS is petitioning the federal government to mandate that trucks be outfitted with tougher underride guards that will stay in place during a collision.

Stronger barriers urged to stop beheadings in rear-end crashes, USA Today, March 2, 2011

Truck Underride Accidents: Drivers Endangered When Cars Slide Under Trailers, ABC News, March 1, 2011

Underride guards on big rigs often fail in crashes; Institute petitions government for new standard, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Related Web Resources:


More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Crash Kills Sparta Man, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011

FMCSA’s Proposed Changes to Hours-of-Service Rules for Commercial Truckers Will Hopefully Decrease The Number of US Truck Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 19, 2011


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