Bipartisan bill calls for more underride guards on trucks

Underride crashes, where a motor vehicle collides with a large truck and slides under it, are not uncommon in Ohio. They are some of the most severe of all large truck accidents, though, usually resulting in head and neck injuries. In many cases, occupants are decapitated. Vehicle safety features are normally rendered useless in such crashes and so cannot help. At least 300 people die in these crashes every year.

Federal law requires underride guards on the rear of large commercial trucks. However, this requirement may soon be extended to the sides and front. It all depends on whether or not a bill called the Stop Underrides Act is passed.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 5, 2019. If passed, it would update the current regulations on rear underride guards as well. Among the supporters of the Stop Underrides Act are the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumer Reports and the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero Coalition.

Not everyone agrees with the legislation. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association stated in a press release that there is little added safety benefit and that, rather, the extra guards may make it harder for truckers to navigate road conditions like grade crossings and high curbs. Plus, truckers will be paying billions of dollars to comply.

Those who get in a semi-truck crash and who are left with medical bills, a damaged vehicle and perhaps a long-term disability may want to see about filing a personal injury claim. In Ohio, plaintiffs can recover damages if they are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Even when eligible, though, victims have to deal with the aggressive tactics of the trucking company’s legal team, so they may want a lawyer by their side.

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