Crashes involving large commercial trucks often result in serious injury and damage due to their large size and weight of the vehicles involved. Some of these wrecks are referred to as “underride accidents” – when a smaller vehicle hits the back of a larger (and higher) truck and becomes lodged under the trailer. Often severe injuries and fatalities occur when parts of the commercial truck’s trailer crashes through the windshield of the smaller vehicle.
Houston injury lawyer, Neal Davis, also mentioned this statistic: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that around 342,000 trucks were involved in reported crashes in 2013 and those accidents resulted in 95,000 injuries and 3,964 deaths.
Underride Accident Causes
Typically, fault for underride accidents lies with the driver of the commercial truck, even when the smaller vehicle crashes into the rear (usually a sign of fault). Signs of truck driver negligence leading to underride accidents include:
- Failure to have working lighting (brake and/or tail)
- Failure to have correct reflectors or other visibility markers
- Breaking suddenly due to impairment or distraction
Failures in Underride Guards
In order to help curb underride accidents, commercial trucks are required to have underride guards affixed to their rear. Underride guards are intended to stop smaller vehicles from being wedged underneath the trailer in the event of a collision.
However, we are now finding out that underride guards do not catch all smaller vehicles.
Research by the Truck Safety Coalition suggests underride guard failures are due to poor design, since currently the underride guard is only required on the back of truck trailers. This means that protection is only offered if a car crashes directly in the middle, which only happens in a small number of cases. Experts suggest that most drivers recognize an impending crash and swerve to try to avoid it. In the event a crash still happens, chances are the vehicle will not hit the underride guard directly in the center.
Being in a crash involving a much larger vehicle typically ends in severe injury (or death) and extensive property damage. At Gilreath & Associates, we want to help you recover financial losses from your crash as soon as possible. Call us today to schedule a free consultation in our Knoxville, Nashville or Memphis offices.