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Truck underride accidents have high fatality rates

One of the most devastating types of accidents involving large commercial trucks are underride collisions. If you or a family member experienced such a horrific crash, you are lucky to be alive.

Many of these accidents are not survivable. The trucking industry and government policymakers agree with trucking safety activists that the big rigs require improved rear guards that prevent deadly underrides from occurring. But they have yet to get on the same page about who will pick up the tab for costs associated with the design and manufacture of the improved guards.

What is an underride collision?

Underrides occur when passenger vehicles that are smaller and set lower to the ground slam into the rear of semitrucks and the momentum causes them to keep going forward underneath the large truck. This compresses the passenger compartment and causes the often-fatal injuries.

Underride collisions can also involve passenger vehicles getting jammed beneath the semi from the side. In these types of crashes, even if the initial impact doesn't prove to be deadly, there's still a real danger of injury with the big rig's wheels.

Present regulations are insufficient

Trucks have been required to be equipped with at least some form of underride guards for the past 64 years. However, proponents of industry-wide change contend that these guards have not kept up with the new designs of passenger vehicles.

The popularity of sport-utility vehicles that ride higher in traffic contributed to the damage to the passenger vehicles. Some safety advocates urge new designs that will wrap the guards all the way around the trailer. However, not only would the design upgrades cost the manufacturers huge sums, the added weight to the trucks would decrease the amount of cargo they could haul.

Will any changes be enough?

Even while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ponders altering federal standards for underride guards, many others associated with the industry surmise that the changes will not eliminate the deadly problem.

Grieving family members of those killed in underride collisions have also joined in the debate. One family even started a petition after losing their two teen daughters in an underride crash.

If you have been involved in an underride collision, or are the survivor of a family member who lost his or her life in a horrific crash with an 18-wheele r, you may decide to seek financial compensation from the Pennsylvania courts for the losses and damages your suffer.

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