The term “underride” refers to accidents where a smaller vehicle collides with a commercial motor vehicle and slides underneath the larger vehicle’s trailer. Underride accidents are some of the most catastrophic dangers on the road and frequently result in substantial damage to the smaller vehicle and often either serious injuries or death. Since 1998, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enforced a regulation that requires vehicles of a certain weight to be equipped with rear impact guards that meet established safety standards. These metal rear impact guards are designed to prevent accidents and minimize the effect of resulting damages from underride accidents. The most recent investigations, however, have revealed that underride accidents can and still do occur despite the presence of rear impact guards. Not to mention, not all commercial motor vehicles meet the standards to require rear impact guards.
Causes of Underride Accidents
There are type of accidents that directly lead to underride accidents:
- Improper Turns. Rear-end collisions tend to result when vehicles fail to signal turns or turning when the adjacent is not clear. Commercial motor vehicle drivers might also fail to properly examine blind spots prior to changing lanes.
- Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance. Commercial motor vehicle drivers who fail to properly monitor commercial vehicles can directly cause situations that lead to underride accidents. Some of these most common types of commercial vehicle failures that cause underride accidents are defective brake or tail lighting.
- Vehicles that travel too fast (or in some cases, too slow) sometimes result in situations that cause underride accidents.
- Sudden braking by a truck can result in rear-end collisions.
Ways That Impact Guards Fail to Prevent Underside Accidents
There are a few direct ways that impact guards cause underride accidents, which include:
- Absence of Guards. A collision occurs and the commercial vehicle lacks impact guard to prevent a car from sliding underneath the vehicle.
- Defective Guard. The truck has a defective or poorly designed impact guard that fails to prevent an underride accident from occurring.
- Missing Reflectors. Not only does the commercial vehicle lack an impact guard, the vehicle’s reflective tape or other types of reflective devices are absent or damaged.
When underride accidents do occur, common injuries that occur are spinal damages and broken bones. Accidents victims might be able to pursue claims against the manufacturer of the impact guards in addition to the trucking company and commercial vehicle driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an underride accident, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.