More could be done to prevent underride crashes in Georgia

Override crashes involve a specific type of crash between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer where the passenger vehicle rams under the tractor-trailer upon impact. Because the undercarriage of the tractor-trailer is much higher than the passenger vehicle, underride crashes typically cause severe injuries to the heads and necks of the passengers inside. Some crashes even decapitate the passengers.

Underride crashes comprise about 20 percent of the fatalities in all fatal crashes involving a tractor-trailer and passenger vehicle. Many advocates have been pushing for tougher safety standards to prevent fatalities from underride crashes. Federal regulations require tractor-trailers to have underride guards on the back of the trailer. However, no such guards are required on the sides of trailers.

Some truck manufacturers have responded to the problem voluntarily by installing stronger underride guards on their tractor-trailers. Federal legislators have been slower to act. In 2017, legislators introduced the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, which would have required all tractor-trailers to have both side and rear underride guards and would have required safety standards relating to the guards to be updated every five years. The legislation stalled in a Senate committee for a year without ever coming to a vote.

Many people who have lost a loved one have been vocal about advocating for change and raising public awareness about the issue. The more people who contact their local legislators regarding this issue, the more likely lawmakers will be motivated to take action.

People who have lost loved ones to underride crashes and other truck wrecks may wish to seek relief in court. A skilled, experienced attorney may be able to assess the strength of a potential claim and determine if the trucking company could be held responsible.

Source www.theindychannel.com, "Parents frustrated as efforts to stop deadly underride crashes stall on Capitol Hill," Kara Kenney, December 13, 2018.

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