Faulty Underride Guards Increase Risks for Fatal Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety (IIHS) recently tested the effectiveness of tractor-trailer underride guards. The IIHS is now urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put tougher regulations in place in an effort to decrease risks of car accidents in West Palm Beach and elsewhere. They’re also trying to get the federal government to mandate guards for all large trucks and trailers.

Naples personal injury lawyers urge you to practice cautious driving while sharing the roads with these large tractor-trailers. The lack of protection from American underride guards can provide deadly consequences to those in passenger vehicles who may rear end these commercial vehicles.

“Cars’ front-end structures are designed to manage a tremendous amount of crash energy in a way that minimizes injuries for their occupants,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Hitting the back of a large truck is a game changer. You might be riding in a vehicle that earns top marks in frontal crash tests, but if the truck’s underride guard fails — or isn’t there at all — your chances of walking away from even a relatively low-speed crash aren’t good.”

The IIHS proved that these guards can fail in relatively low-speed crashed by testing three separate tractor-trailers and their underride guards, according to Occupational Health & Safety (OHS).

Of the 115 real-life crashes involving underride that the IIHS observed, only 22 of the accidents involved negligible underride, if any at all. In 23 of the 28 accidents that involved a significant amount of underride, an occupant of the passenger vehicle died. These cases also resulted in the entire front-end of the passenger vehicle ending up underneath the back of the truck, causing catastrophic damage.

“Damage to the cars in some of these tests was so devastating that it’s hard to watch the footage without wincing. If these had been real-world crashes there would be no survivors,” says Lund.

The results of these tests bring up a serious problem that needs to be corrected and regulated by the NHTSA. In 2009, more than 3,000 fatalities and approximately 74,000 injuries were a result of accidents involving large trucks. The IIHS will continue to push for new, stricter regulations in attempt to lower these numbers. Underride accidents can be prevented with the proper equipment.

“Underride standards haven’t kept pace with improvements in passenger vehicle crashworthiness,” Lund says. “Absent regulation, there’s little incentive for manufacturers to improve underride countermeasures, so we hope NHTSA will move quickly on our petition.”