When people think about truck accidents, most of them imagine a head-on or side-impact collision between a truck and a passenger vehicle. But underride collisions are just as common and can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries to the driver and passenger inside the passenger car.
“In most commercial trucks in Philadelphia and all across Pennsylvania, the trailer is lifted to a height that allows the average passenger vehicle to squeeze between the road and underside of the truck’s trailer,” says our Philadelphia underride truck accident attorney at Dan Doyle Law Group.
Regardless of whether the truck is moving or not, this type of collision can cause severe injuries to those inside the car that ended up beneath the truck’s trailer. More often than not, underride accidents occur when the post-collision momentum forces a passenger vehicle beneath the truck trailer, or the truck stops suddenly, which leaves the driver of the passenger vehicle insufficient time to react, and, as a result, the smaller vehicle “slides” under the side or rear of the truck.
Underride accidents are responsible for some of the most gruesome deaths, since the top of the smaller vehicle can be sheared off as a result of that collision, which, in many cases, leaves the occupants of the smaller vehicle decapitated.
Oftentimes, underride crashes occur due to negligence on the part of truck drivers or trucking companies. Let’s discuss some of the most common causes and contributing factors in underride collisions.
You have probably seen underride guards on most trucks in Pennsylvania. Those underride guards are long pieces of steel attached to the bottom of the truck’s trailer to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath in the event of a crash. “The problem is that while underride guards are required by federal law on the back of trucks, there is no requirement to install those guards along the sides,” explains our experienced truck accident attorney in Philadelphia.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been advocating for fixing many issues associated with underride guards for years, while lawmakers all across the U.S. are urged by safety advocates to enforce more thorough testing and enhanced regulations regarding underride guards.
While it may seem that underride guards are responsible for all underride collisions, it is not the case. There are many other contributory factors behind underride accidents, including but not limited to those caused by negligent acts on the part of truckers and trucking companies:
Federal law requires truck drivers and trucking companies to follow certain safety rules to prevent many types of truck accidents, including underride collisions. If an underride truck crash was caused by the truck driver’s failure to abide by traffic rules or federal safety regulations, a trucking company’s failure to conduct proper background checks or train its drivers, a trucking company’s failure to conduct routine inspection and maintenance of the vehicle, or any other type of negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses and damages.