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What are Underride Truck Accidents and Why Do They Occur?

Experiencing a motor vehicle accident is always a scary experience, no matter how minor it may be. Some accidents are particularly traumatic for drivers and passengers alike, such as a head-on collision, a roll-over, or an underride truck accident.

Underride truck accidents make up a small percentage of the overall fatalities when it comes to car-truck accidents, but they can be traumatic. Even in small numbers, the aftermath of these accidents can be devastating for people who are injured or family members and loved ones left behind after a fatality.

Many of these family members worked together in 2017 to petition Congress to implement new safety standards to keep drivers safer on the road.

What Is An Underride Truck Accident?

You can probably guess by the name that an underride truck accident occurs when a vehicle ends up driving underneath a commercial semi or tractor-trailer.

Underride truck accidents always include at least two vehicles: the tractor-trailer itself and, most commonly, a car that drives (or is pushed) underneath the trailer bed. This can be partial or complete; whether a vehicle goes completely underneath the truck or just partially underneath, it still gets categorized as an underride truck accident.

How Common are Underride Truck Accidents?

Stop Underrides, an organization that works to prevent these tragedies, says that although there are only a few hundred fatalities from underrides identified every year, those numbers are likely underestimating the reality of the situation.

That’s because accident forms don’t always list the details of the accident, meaning that underride deaths are probably under-reported in the overall numbers.

What Causes Underride Accidents?

Underride accidents can be caused by so many different things. For example, a front underride crash occurs when a trailer backs into and over a vehicle. A rear underride, on the other hand, occurs when a vehicle doesn’t stop and slides underneath the back of a trailer. This can happen when a trailer has stopped and a driver doesn’t notice or doesn’t respond fast enough to sufficiently brake.

A side underride is what happens when a smaller vehicle slides under the side of a tractor-trailer.

Common factors in these crashes include:

  • Bad weather
  • Slippery roads
  • Fatigued drivers
  • Brake failure
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to properly signal a lane change
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding

It is important to understand that either driver could be at fault in these situations. Sometimes underride crashes are determined to be the fault of the driver of the car, while they are sometimes the fault of the semi-driver.

Can Underride Accidents Be Prevented?

The good news is that underride accidents can be prevented. Several strategies may reduce the number of these collisions every year.

Require side guards.

Early in 2021, the Stop Underrides Act was introduced to Congress. The bill has not yet become law, and it is in fact the third attempt to get something like this passed. The goal of this legislation is to get every semi on the road to have consistent side guards installed, rather than leave this up to individual states.

Research has shown that side guards help reduce the severity of underride collisions.

Reduce distracted driving.

Distracted driving is one of the unfortunate causes of underrides. If we can reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road, we can reduce the number of people who are injured or killed in this kind of accident.

Many people need to get involved in reducing distracted driving on the roads! States can impose fines for distracted driving to deter people from using their phones. Trucking companies can incentivize safe driving and penalize drivers who behave badly while on the job. And drivers of non-commercial vehicles can educate themselves on the risks of distracted driving and how to eliminate it from their habits.

What If You Have Been Injured in an Underride Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident, or if someone you love was killed in an accident, you may be dealing with the long-term effects of that event. Perhaps you are paying off medical bills or dealing with PTSD from the trauma.

When you have an experienced legal team on your side, it can be a huge relief. Instead of worrying about what comes next, you can find support from professionals who understand what should happen each step of the way.

At Crossen Law Firm, we do everything we can to protect your claim so that you receive fair compensation.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. We’re ready to help.