Smaller passenger vehicles and bigger trucks are not a good combination on Missouri and Kansas roads because the combination of these two vehicle types can end up in deadly underride accidents. These crashes often lead to fatalities or serious injuries. By understanding several critical details about the nature of underride accidents, however, drivers can avoid ending up in one of these deadly accidents.
The Nature of Underride Accidents
Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle goes under the back or side of a semi-trailer. While various advancements in motor vehicle technology have the potential to reduce the rate of underride crashes, underride accidents still occur. Even when these crashes occur at low speeds, they still have the potential to result in deadly consequences. Hundreds of people die each year as a result of underride accidents. The United States Government’s Accountability Office, however, has found that underride injuries and fatalities are likely underreported due to variations in how data is collected.
What Causes Underride Crashes?
Countless causes can lead to underride crashes. Some of the most common factors involved in these crashes include adverse weather conditions, brake failure, distracted drivers, fatigued drivers, drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and drivers who fail to signal lane changes.
Underride crashes often occur in one of three ways:
- Front underride crashes involve trailers backing into and over vehicles
- Rear underride crashes involve collisions in which vehicles slide under the back of trucks
- Side underride or side-impact collisions involve smaller vehicles slide under the side of trucks
The Role of Underride Protection Devices
Underride guards are metal bars that are suspended from the back of a truck to create a barrier that blocks smaller vehicles from sliding underneath the truck in a crash. If a truck does not have an underride guard, a smaller vehicle that rear-ends a truck can get crushed underneath the bigger vehicle. Current federal law does not require trucks to install side underride guards.
The Devastating Nature of Underride Crashes
When vehicles collide, the bumper and crumple zones of vehicles absorb the impact. Crumple zones, as well as airbags and other safety features, protect vehicle occupants. Due to the higher ground clearance of bigger vehicles, trucks rarely directly collide with passenger vehicles. When smaller vehicles strike the back or sides of a truck, they sometimes slide underneath the bigger vehicle. Because a vehicle’s hood can squarely fit under a larger vehicle, a smaller vehicle’s passenger compartment is sometimes the first thing struck during an accident. In high-speed collisions, the upper passenger compartment can even completely come off and lead to deadly results.
Speak With an Experienced Accident Attorney
At House Law LLC, we understand that when underride accidents occur, various parties including truck manufacturers may be liable for the resulting damage. Our lawyers work tirelessly to show that the party who caused your accident should be held responsible for the resulting damage. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.