It is estimated that there are roughly 2.3 million semi-trucks operating on the U.S. roadways, with more than 500,000 trucking companies that employ 9 million people nationwide. Further, the American Trucking Associations cites that 70 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities. With an ever increasing presence on the roadways, truck accidents are a serious and often deadly occurrence.
One type of truck crash is referred to as an underride. Underrides occur when a truck stops suddenly and a smaller passenger car crashes into the rear or side of the truck’s trailer because it is unable to stop. Underride accidents can be some of the most serious collisions, as they are often deadly. Given the force of the collision, and the dimensions of the vehicles, the impact of the crash can cut off the entire cab of the car.
Statistics have established that underrides kill approximately 1,000 people annually and all of them are car occupants. Further, the deadly nature of these accidents is illustrated by the fact that only about 2% of the individuals car drivers who are involved in underride collisions survive.
In hopes of improving these deadly statistics, the National Highway Transportation Safety Act required that all trucks made after 1998 implement safety precautions by adding rear and side underguards. Even with the new safeguards, drivers should still remain cautious of semi-trucks as there are still millions of trucks on the roadway who are not subject to the underguard requirement and because the underguard safeguards can still fail.