The danger of cars getting crushed under large trucks has led to calls for more regulations on tractor trailers and other large trucks. According to the New Jersey Herald, a collection of concerned citizens and lawmakers are asking congress to make it mandatory for trucks to have underride protection to prevent cars from getting slammed under them.
Marianne Karth’s two teenage daughters died in 2013 after her car skidded under a tractor trailer. Regarding the requested new regulations, she stated, “we’re asking Congress to pass a bill that would mandate comprehensive underride protection, not only on tractor-trailers but on single-unit trucks.” By single unit trucks, she is referring to trucks that don’t have trailers, such as garbage trucks and dump trucks.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has added his voice to the cause as well. In his home state of New York, a recent truck accident claimed the lives of 4 people after they went under a milk tanker that had jackknifed on the highway. He is asking that these large trucks be required to have guards on their sides that would stop other vehicles from getting underneath them. In a statement, Schumer said “The devastation of crashes like these-a result of a gap in truck safety standards-could be reduced.”
It is true that cars getting stuck and impacted by the underride is a big problem. The numbers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bear that out. All told, 301 of the fatalities as a result of truck accidents were because of hitting the side of the truck, and 292 when their car hit the back. Out of a total 1,542 deaths, that’s more than half that involve contact with the undercarriage. These accidents are particularly devastating, because the airbag becomes completely ineffective, since the top of the car is essentially getting sliced off.
When Jayne Mansfield, the famous actress, died in 1967 as a result of her car getting stuck under the rear of a trailer, regulations were updated so that all tractor-trailers had to have guards at the rear. These guards came to be known as “Mansfield bars”. Side guards were not included in those regulations back then, but perhaps now is the time. While federal regulations to not mandate such guards, three of the country’s major cities have made it mandatory for city owned trucks to have them. Those cities are New York, Boston, and Seattle. Perhaps Jersey City will follow suit if the federal regulations don’t change. By its estimates, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety figures that such regulations could save hundreds of deaths ever year.
Many of these trucks will pass by on the highways around Jersey City. If you’ve been injured or a loved one has died as a result of a collision with the undercarriage or any other part of a truck, call an attorney who specializes in truck accidents right away. An attorney and their team will be able to assess your case and provide the best advice possible to protect your rights.