Truck underride accidents are among the most violent and deadly crash types. Safety advocates estimate that 80 to 90 percent of underride truck accidents are fatal.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a "final rule" that would strengthen safety equipment that reduces the risk of death in such a crash. Still, some advocates say it doesn't go far enough.
The rule focuses on rear underride guards for semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large vehicles. It also calls for more research into side underride guards.
Some safety advocates have voiced disappointment. They say there is enough research on side underride guards to make them a requirement. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that the new standards are not good enough to reduce this type of fatal truck accident significantly.
"While the new standard is an improvement over the old one, nearly all newly manufactured guards on trailers already meet this new standard," IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement. Harkey called for the NHTSA to require crash testing underride guards while mounted on a trailer and allow fewer exemptions to the underride rules.
Texas truck underride accidents
Underride accidents occur when a smaller car slides completely or partially under a large truck or trailer. When there is nothing to stop it, the vehicle can go under the trailer, shearing off the cab and killing vehicle occupants. Hundreds of people die in this type of crash every year.
Last year, a horrific truck underride accident occurred on State Highway 71. An SUV slammed into the back of an Amazon semi-truck, went underneath the 18-wheeler, and burst into flames, killing the driver.
According to Stop Underrides, fatal underride accidents in the Fort Worth-Dallas area have occurred on or near:
- TX Highway 114
NHTSA underride rule
The NHTSA final rule would upgrade standards for rear underride guards, which are required on most large trucks. There is no requirement for side underride guards. The rear underride guard benchmarks were set to withstand a hit to the rear of a parked semi-truck by a compact or subcompact passenger vehicle traveling at 35 mph. The new rule would require an annual inspection of the safety equipment. It also calls for more research into the effectiveness of side underride guards.
The trillion-dollar U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act spurred the final rule. A "final rule" is an administrative term that means a rule or change has already been through a period of public comment. There is still a 45-day period to petition the rule. After that, truck owners will have two years to comply with it.
Contact a Fort Worth truck accident lawyer today.
If you were injured or a loved one died in an underride accident or some other type of tractor-trailer wreck, you should review your legal rights and options with an attorney as soon as possible.
Cases involving commercial truck accidents are complex, and if you're not careful, you could lose out on the financial compensation you're entitled to. That's why you need an experienced truck accident lawyer to step in, protect your rights, and fight for every dollar you deserve.
Contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, today for a free case consultation. There are no obligations, and we offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no fees unless we recover compensation for you through a settlement or favorable court verdict. To learn more, call us right now.