Underride Truck Accidents: What Makes Them Common, What Makes Them Dangerous

When people talk truck wrecks, there are always plenty of reasons they cite as to why accidents happen. Many trucks are very heavy, poorly maintained, or poorly loaded. Other times, the driver may be overtired, under the influence of a dangerous substance, or just plain inexperienced. There are also accidents with trucks that may be the fault of the other driver, perhaps driving aggressively or distracted by something besides driving safely.

One of the many types of accidents where lines of liability become blurred are underride accidents, when a car slides underneath the back or side of a trailer. While this stunt is often seen in movies with low-profile sports cars, in reality, these wrecks can have a grisly finish.

Why Are Underride Accidents So Deadly?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has previously estimated that over 400 people are killed each year in underride accidents, while another 5,000 were injured. What makes these accidents so deadly? It’s a matter of size difference—sort of.

Your car is designed to absorb impact forces primarily from your front bumper, as well as from the rear bumper and side panels. In most wrecks with other cars, the primary force will be encountered and absorbed where the other car meets yours, which is typically at a similar height to your own bumper. The frame of your car holds and gives in certain strategic “crumple zones,” taking the brunt of the impact, and hopefully you walk away unscathed.

When you hit the back of a tractor trailer, most of the force will meet your car at the lowest part of the trailer, which averages about three feet high. This is typically too high for your car’s design to absorb the impact safely, and often results in the trailer entering the passenger compartment and striking occupants in the head.

Why Do Underrides Happen?

While rear underride guards are mandatory on trucks in the United States, side guards are not—and some trailers may be missing them altogether. What is more disturbing is that even the trucks that are equipped with underride guards may not be protecting you enough, as many underride guards have been shown to be insufficient when struck at 50% or less of an overlap.

If you have been seriously injured in an underride wreck, it is critical that the underride guard is thoroughly examined to determine if it met safety standards. Augusta injury attorney Chris Hudson can help you fight to recover medical expenses and wage losses to help you make the full recovery you deserve. Contact the firm today by phone or by clicking on the live chat feature now.