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How can underrail guards save lives?


Although you may be familiar with driving alongside massive tractor trailers on a daily basis, you may not be aware of the dangers these vehicles present to drivers. One of the most unnerving types of large truck accidents involves vehicles that go underneath the side of the truck, sheering off the top of the car or even decapitating the occupants of the vehicle. These types of devastating accidents are more common than one may think. In fact, more than 200 people are killed in underride crashes every year in the United States.

In 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated the use of rear guards on trucks, after a famous actress was beheaded in an accident where her vehicle slid under the back of a truck. Surprisingly, side guards are not required, despite the desperate need for them. Side guards made of the right material on trucks could potentially keep vehicles from sliding underneath them on the road. Although the vehicles may still collide with the trucks, they are more likely to survive the accident.

The International Institute of Highway Safety has been advocating for the use of side underride guards for several years, as the organization has been conducting intense studies testing their effectiveness. The IIHS presented awards to five semitractor manufacturers in North American as they have voluntarily equipped their trucks with tough underride guards that withstood severe accidents in testing conditions. The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association stands in opposition of the underride guards, saying that they add too much weight to trucks and are not cost effective.

This information should be used for educational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. 

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