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Inadequate Rear Guards May Be Doing a Poor Job of Preventing Boston Underride Truck Crash Deaths

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the federal government needs to mandate that stronger rear guards be used on tractor-trailers and other big rig trucks. The underride guards are supposed to prevent smaller vehicles that rear-end large trucks from ending up under the larger vehicle. Unfortunately, the current rear guards do not appear to be doing enough to stop truck underride crashes from happening.

Our Boston injury lawyers are familiar with the damage and catastrophic injuries that can result when a smaller auto ends up under a semi-truck or another type of big rig truck. We welcome any efforts to make and install sturdier rear guards that can stop a smaller vehicle from sliding under a truck. We also represent clients with Massachusetts products liability cases against the makers of defective truck parts.

The IIHS came to the conclusion that the current underride guards in use aren’t tough enough when they failed during low speed crash tests. Also. analysis of about 1,000 real-world collisions between 2001 and 2003 (from the Large Truck Crash causation study) showed that of the 115 rear-end truck crashes involving a passenger vehicle hitting a big rig’s back, underride collisions were a common outcome.

A vehicle’s occupant compartment that is involved in an underride truck crash usually ends up getting crushed, which often proves catastrophic for those inside. Serious upper body injuries, such as decapitation, spinal cord injury, or organ damage can be sustained if the victims are lucky enough to survive. Also, In 23 of the 28 incidents involving a passenger vehicle occupant dying, usually there was some underride damage, meaning that at least the entire front end of the auto ended up underneath the truck.

More Truck Underride Facts:
• The NHTSA says approximately 423 people a year are killed over 5,000 others are injured in collisions involving passenger autos rear-ending large trucks.
• In 2009, 70% of the 3,163 truck crash victims that died were the occupants of passenger vehicles.

Our Boston truck accident law firm represents victims and their families throughout the state.

Underride guards on big rigs often fail in crashes; Institute petitions government for new standard, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, March 1, 2011
Underride Crashes, IIHS Status Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Underride Network

The Large Truck Causation Study

More Blog Posts:
Tractor-Trailer Crash Causes Evacuation of Palmer Residents, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 29, 2010
Three Teenagers injured When SUV Collides with Tractor-Trailer, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 10, 2010
Massachusetts Woman Dies in Tractor-Trailer Accident, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 14, 2010