Bill seeks to reduce truck accident fatalities

Many safety advocates in New York are urging increased regulations to lower the risk of a particularly deadly type of trucking accident. Underride crashes occur when a passenger car slides under the carriage of a large commercial truck, often crushing or severing the top of the car. These accidents can occur at the rear, front or side of the truck, and they are very likely to be fatal. Associated with severe head and neck injuries, underride crashes have even resulted in decapitations.

In 2011, there were 260 deaths in underride rear-end trucking accidents, 19 percent of all fatalities linked to two-vehicle accidents between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. As a result of the number of severe injuries and deaths, underride guards are now mandated on semi-trailers. However, many have criticized the current standard as insufficient to provide proper protection, and no underride guards are mandated on the front or sides of these large trucks.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced legislation, the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, that aims to beef up regulations for commercial vehicles. If passed, the law would require underride guards on the front and sides of trucks as well as updating the standards for rear guards. It would also mandate that the guards be included as part of a truck's annual inspection and that the Department of Transportation review and update the standards every five years. Despite support from advocates like bereaved parents who lost children in truck crashes, the bill made little progress and has remained stalled in committee for a year.

Trucking accidents can be particularly devastating for the occupants of passenger vehicles, leading to catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. A personal injury lawyer may help people injured in a truck crash due to a negligent or dangerous driver seek compensation for their damages.

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