Truck accidents remain a pressing concern on Arkansas roads, claiming lives and causing injuries every year. In an effort to minimize the severity of truck collisions and enhance safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a new mandate for side guards. This new mandate addresses a longstanding vulnerability that has plagued the trucking industry for far too long.
The new side guard mandate
There are no federal requirements for side underride guards on trucks in the U.S., but the NHTSA wants to change that. According to Fleet Owner, the NHTSA conducted a study on side underride guards last year. The study's findings revealed a significant impact: The installation of underride guards would save 17 lives and prevent 69 serious injuries every year.
Side underride guards were found to be most effective at speeds of 40 mph or slower. They could reduce fatalities by 97% and severe injuries by 85%. Unfortunately, most underride truck accidents happen at much higher speeds. Only 20% occur at speeds of 40 mph or less.
What are side underride guards?
Side underride guards act as a physical barrier for passenger vehicles at risk of being lodged in the space underneath a truck. They are safety devices that act as a protective shield. These side guards have to be strong enough to withstand the force of impact from a crash.
Although mandates are still up in the air for side underride guards, rear guards are required on most new semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. According to the Federal Register, trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds or more must be equipped with a rear impact guard meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) No. 223.
Understanding truck underride accidents
Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear or sides of a truck and slides underneath it. The vehicle can find itself completely underneath the trailer or just partially. Many times, in an underride accident, the upper part of the smaller vehicle collapses inward as it slips beneath the truck. They also have the potential to shear off the car's roof completely.
Underride accidents carry catastrophic consequences, often resulting in tragic outcomes. Fatalities are unfortunately all too common in these types of collisions. Occupants of passenger vehicles are at risk for suffering:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), concussions, skull fractures, and other head injuries
- Spinal cord damage that can result in partial or permanent paralysis
- Bone fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Facial injuries
- Neck injuries
Seek justice with an Arkansas truck accident attorney
Truck underride accidents strike at the core of catastrophe, and they can often be more than just mere accidents. Many often stem from the negligence of truckers and trucking companies. That's why if you were injured or a loved one died in an underside collision with a tractor-trailer, you need to protect your rights with an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you demand justice and accountability.
At the McDaniel Law Firm, PLC, our team proudly serves injured truck accident victims throughout Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee. We are passionate about helping clients secure the maximum compensation they deserve and holding negligent truckers/trucking companies accountable.
Underride accidents are complex cases, but we’ve been very successful in representing families who have needlessly lost loved ones in these types of crashes. For example, we’ve successfully sued trailer manufacturers for failing to equip their trailers with side guards.
Our law firm believes everyone should be able to afford legal representation. That's why we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means we work with no upfront costs. It also means you pay no fees unless we win your case. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today and schedule a free consultation.