What causes underride accidents to happen?

A truck underride accident occurs when a car or smaller vehicle collides with the back or side of a big rig. The impact causes the smaller vehicle to slide underneath the trailer. The collision can crush the car’s roof or sheer it off. What’s more, the likelihood of serious injury or death is high in an underride accident.

According to FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in 2019, 25% of two-vehicle truck accident fatalities resulted from impacts with the rear end of a truck. In addition, 14% of vehicle-truck accident fatalities occurred from collisions with the side of a truck.

Why do underride accidents occur?

Contributing factors to an underride accident often include:

  • Bad weather conditions, reducing visibility
  • Nighttime driving, obscuring visibility
  • Damaged taillights
  • Sudden braking
  • Lack of underride guards
  • Inadequate signals

Most tractor trailers have underride guards attached to the back of the truck. They can prevent a smaller car from sliding underneath during a collision. However, at times the position of the guard or its design doesn’t provide adequate protection during a crash.

The Stop Underrides Act

The U.S. Congress passed the Stop Underrides Act, which became law in December 2020. The law requires installation of rear, side and front underride guards. This applies to any trailer or semi-trailer with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more, manufactured on or after 12/28/20. In addition, truck drivers must do a pre-trip inspection of the underride protection system. Drivers must identify rusted metal, cracked welds, along with missing or loose fasteners before making the trip. They must also complete any necessary repairs.

Have you or a loved one suffered serious injuries as a result of a truck underride accident?

If so, speak with the Law Office of John Fazzini. We can evaluate whether grounds exist to sue for damages. We offer free initial consultations. Our fees are part of the compensation recovered, but only if we win or settle the case.