New York residents might like to know about the latest efforts to make the roads safer when it comes to motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks. When cars crash into tractor-trailers or semis, the vehicles can slide underneath the larger trucks. This is very dangerous and often results in fatalities. A bill proposed on Dec. 9 would require trucks to be equipped with front and side guards to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trucks.
Side underride crashes kill more than 200 people annually, and the National Transportation Safety Board had recommended the guard features. The bill has bipartisan support and is intended to save lives. Currently, only rear guards are mandated for large trucks. The need for more protection was first called to attention almost 50 years ago when actress Jayne Mansfield was killed in a highway crash. Rear guards became a requirement in 1998.
While side guards are a recommended safety feature for large trucks, many in the trucking industry have not adopted this voluntary precaution. The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association is opposed to requiring side protections. The organization thinks the guards could increase the truck weight, weaken the trailer and provide financial and technical challenges.
Some worry that politics and expenses have gotten in the way of safety concerns in the past when it comes to the trucking industry. One sponsor of the new bill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y, reported that the current safety standards are outdated and that side guards are an easy fix for a dangerous problem.
Truck accidents can have serious and long-term consequences when they occur. If someone is injured in a truck accident, he or she may seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. The family members of someone killed in a truck crash might also receive restitution through civil court.