Have you ever driven behind a commercial truck and noticed the boxy, u-shaped piece of metal hanging down from the back of the trailer? You may have thought that the bar looked dangerous and like something you wouldn't want to run into in the case of an accident. Believe it or not, that bar is actually there to prevent the worst kind of semitruck accidents.
Underride collisions involve a smaller passenger vehicle slipping under a larger commercial vehicle. They are almost always fatal because of the catastrophic damage that the smaller vehicle suffers. The metal dangling from the back of a semitrailer is an underride guard intended to keep vehicles from getting crushed underneath the rear wheels.
These guards play a critical role in reducing fatal truck collisions. Unfortunately, many commercial trucking companies cut corners when it comes to underride guards, leaving the public at unnecessary risk for a fatal crash.
Better guards save lives in the event of a wreck
Underride accidents can happen on any side of a truck. That's one reason that their cabs have low clearance in the front, to reduce front override risks. However, the sides and rear of a truck are still points of vulnerability.
Wider, stronger underride guards in the back of commercial trucks protect people better in the event of a rear-end crash. Unfortunately, many commercial trucking companies worry more about their bottom line than public safety. They will simply install the cheapest rear guards that they can find, even if a better guard would drastically improve the overall safety for the public.
Side underride guards also play an important role. These are sheets of metal that hang between the axles of a commercial truck's trailer. However, because the United States federal government does not currently require them, many companies don't install them. They are expensive on their own, and they also decrease fuel efficiency. However, they can prevent tragic and horrific accidents.
Faulty or inadequate underride guards could be a source of financial liability
Underride guards can make the difference between a bad crash and a fatal wreck. Commercial trucking companies that put their own profit margin ahead of public safety deserve to be held accountable when those policies carry a human toll.
If you have lost a loved one in an underride crash, it is possible that inadequate underride guards played a role. In that scenario, you may be able to hold either the driver or their employer financially accountable for the losses your family suffered.
Litigating liability after a fatal trucking accident is complex, which is why sitting down with an attorney with experience in Georgia trucking crashes is a good first step for your family after a tragic underride collision.