NHTSA Proposes Stronger Truck Guards to Reduce Rear-impact Deaths
After receiving petitions from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, the National Transportation Safety Board, and from a North Carolina mother who lost two daughters in a 2013 truck crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed that trucking companies be required to install stronger guards on their trailers to reduce deaths caused when cars rear-end tractor trailers. According to the NHTSA, the stronger guards will prevent between and three serious injuries and one fatality a year.
Rear-Impact Truck Accidents
For decades, tractor-trailers have installed underride guards that hang down from the back ends of box trailers. These guards are currently built to protect passengers in crashes of up to 30 miles per hour. According to NHTSA, increasing its rating to be able to protect passengers in crashes of up to 35 miles per hour can significantly reduce the risk of death or injury to vehicle occupants in the event of a crash into the rear of a tractor-trailer.
In the event that a car rear-ends a tractor-trailer, it can go under the truck and cause severe head damage or even decapitation. One of the advocates of the new standard, Marianne Karth from Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, was involved in a truck accident in May 2013 when she was driving in heavy rain with three of her children. A tractor-trailer rear-ended her car and hurled it under another truck. That truck’s underride guard failed so her car went right under it, instantly killing her 17-year old daughter. Her 13-year old daughter died a few days later. NHTSA estimates that there are about 400 deaths from cars colliding with the backs of trucks each year, with about 125 of them resulting from severe injuries from objects intruding into the passenger compartments.
Most Trucks are Already Compliant
NHTSA estimates that the trucking industry would need to spend a total of $13 million to meet the new trailer standards, and that about 93% of the tractor-trailers currently sold in the U.S. are already compliant. The American Trucking Associations has stated that underride guards envisioned by NHTSA in its proposal have already been manufactured and in use in the U.S. for some time.
In 2001, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted crash tests on trucks compliant with the current standards, and the underride guards in those tests buckled or broke, and trailers often broke through the windshields. The current federal standard is based on Canadian regulations and, therefore, many manufacturers are already designing stronger guards.
Tractor-trailer crashes are dangerous accidents that often cause serious injury or even death. Seeking compensation for injuries incurred in a tractor-trailer crash, or for wrongful death, can be an onerous process that requires extensive expertise, investigation, and analysis. If you or a loved one has been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you pursue your case to recover damages for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.