When it comes to rear-end collisions between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer, chances are the passengers of the vehicle will suffer serious injuries or even death, even if the collision happens at relatively low speeds. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is in the process of petitioning the federal government to require under-ride guards on all commercial trucks, and also to have more durable, stronger under-ride guards. The studies have shown that in 2009 there were 3, 163 fatalities in all large commerical truck accidents. In those accidents, 70% of the fatalities were of occupants in lower-riding passenger vehicles.
Analysts have found that in many of the car accidents, the upper part of the car's vehicle cabin crushed as it collided with the back of the large truck and then slid underneath the back end of the tractor-trailer. The same crushing effect was not found in collisions involving two passenger cars because front-end structures were able to distribute most of the impact and force and injuries were minimized.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released statistics that show an average of 423 people die each year and another 5, 000 are injured when passenger cars rear-end tractor-trailer trucks. Using the 2010 Chevy Malibu, the IIHS tested several different under-ride guards. The car was crashed into the rear of a parked tractor-trailer at different speeds to see if some under-ride guards performed better than others. The results showed that the under-ride guards are poorly designed and result with serious injury to potential passengers. They then tested the under-ride guards that met the more stringent Canadian standards against the American standard guard and the result was the better designed and more durable Canadian guard kept the car from sliding under the truck, while the American standard guard did not.
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.
If you are in need of a Myrtle Beach SC auto accident attorney, Conway lawyer Dirk Derrick at The Derrick Law Firm has been handling truck accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death claims in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Conway SC for over 23 years. Please call 843-248-7486 today.