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Trucking industry may save lives with side underride guards

If you are in a rear-end collision with a tractor trailer in Georgia, the rear underride guard should keep your passenger vehicle from sliding underneath it, an event that is often fatal. This is not the only safety feature that is available for large trucks. We at Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli, LLP, are familiar with many of the ways that the trucking industry may be able to prevent traffic deaths in crashes involving commercial vehicles.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, data from 2015 indicates that 301 people died in side impact collisions with tractor trailers, while 292 were killed in rear-end collisions. The seriousness of the situation has prompted the development of side underride guards that can keep your vehicle from becoming wedged under the trailer in a crash. Tests show that without a guard, your airbags and other safety features are not effective, and the front of your car cannot absorb any of the force. When a mid-size sedan was driven into the side of a trailer at 35 mph during crash tests, most of the vehicle above the hood was leveled from the windshield to the back passenger seating.

A standard trailer is 53 feet long, and when the area protected by wheels and the connections to the tractor are subtracted, there is approximately a 38-foot length of exposed trailer for your vehicle to slide under. The side underride guards that have been developed and tested for safety reduce that area to roughly 20 feet. If your vehicle strikes the guard going 35 mph or slower, your airbags would deploy, and tests indicate that you may leave the scene of the accident with minor injuries. More information about the dangers of large truck crashes is available on our web page.

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