Underride crashes are some of the most serious accidents that can occur between motor vehicles and large trucks, killing more than 300 people every year. It occurs when motor vehicles collide with trucks and slide under them. Occupants may suffer head and neck injuries or, in some cases, be decapitated. Truckers in Missouri know that federal law currently requires underride guards for the rear of commercial trucks.
On March 5, a bipartisan bill was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives that may change this. The Stop Underrides Act, as the bill is called, would update the standard for rear underride guards and add the requirement for front and side guards if passed.
This bill is intended to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from underride crashes. It has the support of organizations like the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Consumer Reports and the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Not everyone is convinced that the added requirements will bring any safety benefits. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association stated in a March 7 press release that front and side underride guards will make it harder for truckers to navigate high curbs, grade crossings and other road conditions. Forcing truckers to comply will, moreover, cost billions of dollars.
Those who survive an underride crash and who believe they were not at fault may want to see an attorney who focuses on truck accident law. The attorney may determine if victims are eligible for compensation and, if so, how much. Third parties like crash investigators and medical experts might come in to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence and to measure the extent of injuries. The attorney may then be able to negotiate for a settlement for medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages, vehicle damage and other losses.