Stronger Truck Underride Guards Cut Rear-Impact Deaths

In the last few decades, the way we build cars has drastically reduced deaths and serious injuries.  As Central New York car and truck accident lawyers, we know.  Our car crash case volume has gone down, and the injuries are often less severe.

Some of the greatest safety improvements are at the front of the car, which is now designed to absorb a great deal of crash impact — accordion like.  This, accompanied with airbag deployment and seat belts, saves hundreds of lives per year.

But all these safety features are of no avail if the car you are riding in slides under the back of a tractor trailer or truck.  The occupants’ heads get crushed  against the back of the trailer (see second photo above).  The structures designed to absorb the energy of a crash are bypassed, as they slide underneath. The airbags and safety belts can’t do their jobs at all. It is literally a “head-on” collision.  That’s your head, not the car’s.

“Underride guards” are designed to prevent this scenario.  They hang down from the back ends of box trailers and semitrailers, as shown in the first photo. They save lives.  But they do not save as many as they could.

Regulations (by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or “NHTSA”) now require underride guards to sustain only a 30 mile-per-hour impact. Cars that crash faster usually break off or bend in the underride guard so that it does no good.

Watch this video to see what I mean:

The NHTSA is now proposing that the requirement be raised to 35 miles per hour. This is already the requirement in Canada. Manufacturing new trailers with the stronger underride guard will cost, on average, an extra $229 per trailer.

Well worth the cost in our opinion.  In fact, in our opinion, the protection should be extended by 5 miles per hour every decade until we reach 60 miles per hour.  This fairly balances industry cost concerns with public safety.  And it brings us forward to safer and safer cars.

We look forward to the day when we will no longer have ANY car crash clients.  Unfortunately, there are still plenty of other injuries out there to keep this Central New York personal injury law firm busy!

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

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Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Syracuse NY Truck Accident Injury Lawyers
Michaels Bersani Kalabanka



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