Semi trucks pose many different dangers to road users. Other drivers, passengers, motorcycle and bicycle riders, pedestrians, and others near the roadway all face the risk of being seriously injured by the size and weight of a large cargo truck.
Passenger vehicles are also subjected to the risk of being trapped under a large truck. These underride accidents are often fatal to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. A tri-state car accident attorney can help injury victims protect their legal right to compensation after a truck underride accident.
The Facts About Truck Underride Accidents
Because large semi trucks are higher off the ground than passenger vehicles, it is possible for these smaller vehicles to fit under the trailer of the semi truck and become stuck. This is known as an underride accident. These accidents typically occur when either a semi truck or a small vehicle is trying to pass. They can also occur when a semi truck attempts to make a u-turn or otherwise blocks the roadway and prevents a smaller vehicle from avoiding a collision.
Underride accidents may also occur when a semi truck brakes unexpectedly and a smaller vehicle behind it is unable to prevent a rear-end collision. These rear-end underride accidents have been reduced dramatically since the federal government required the installation of a bar at the back of semi truck trailers in the 1960s. Other parts of the trailer, however, remain unprotected.
In order to further reduce the number of underride accidents across the United States, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives has introduced legislation which would require the installation of underride prevention bars at other points of semi truck trailers. Trucks.com reports that the regulations would require the installation of underride bars on the sides and front of semi trucks. The legislation also calls for strengthened regulation of rear bars (as these regulations have not been updated since the 1990s).
How Underride Accidents Affect Tri-State Residents
Underride accidents affect the lives of real victims in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Treehugger reports that an Ohio man was killed when his self-driving Tesla drove into the side of a tractor-trailer. The collision tore the roof off the Tesla, and it is likely that the driver was killed instantly.
The semi truck - which did not have side guard rails - was making a turn across a divided highway at the time of the collision. The Tesla was on autopilot mode, and it kept moving forward after the collision occurred. These circumstances cast doubt on the safety of both large semi trucks and vehicles with autonomous driving features.
Underride accidents cause serious, and often fatal, injuries in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A tri-state truck accident attorney can help victims and their families sort through the aftermath of such an accident. This can include: determining who was liable for causing an accident, developing theories of liability based upon both negligent driving and safety violation, filing claims with insurance carriers, negotiating settlements, and filing and litigating civil lawsuits as necessary.