The Stop Underrides Act of 2017 introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would make side and front underride guards mandatory.

Utica, NY-  When a car and commercial truck collide, there is a risk the car will slide under a commercial vehicle. Such crashes often result in neck and spinal injuries, and in the worst cases, decapitation. Side underride guards could prevent numerous deadly accidents each year, but most large trucks don’t have them because they aren’t mandatory. A bipartisan bill introduced to Congress aims to change that.

NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Introduces Bill to Make Side Underride Guards Mandatory on Commercial Trucks

Safety advocates and the National Traffic Safety Board have pushed to make side underride guards mandatory for years, but no formal rules or legislation have been established so far. That may change if Congress passes the “Stop Underrides Act of 2017,” a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and co-sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R- Fla.).

The “Stop Underrides Act of 2017,” if passed, would make it mandatory for large commercial trucks to have front and side underride guards. Current trucking regulations require only underride guards on the rear of commercial trucks but not on the sides, even though federal statistics say the guards could prevent 200 truck accident fatalities.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, side underride guards could prevent 5,000 injuries and hundreds of deaths each year.

Sen. Gillibrand’s bill is a response to a horrific crash in Oswego County that killed four people in July, Syracuse.com reports. A milk tanker jackknifed on I-81 near Pulaski blocking the lanes of travel. Two vehicles, each carrying two passengers, struck the truck and slid under it. All four occupants died.

The bill is in the first stages and will have to be reviewed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee before it moves forward.

Resistance from the Trucking Industry

Joan Claybrook, who ran the NHTSA back in 70’s and is now a consumer advocate, told NBC News that trucking industry could voluntarily utilize side and front underride guards, but they seem unwilling, so formal legislation is necessary.

“It’s very difficult politically,” Claybrook said, “because the trucking industry wants to stop any safety standards that it can because it increases the price of a truck.”

In 2014, the NTSB recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration make side underride guards mandatory, but they haven’t yet. The NHTSA told NBC that they have just completed a study of side underride guards and plan to present their findings soon.

Contact a Commercial Trucking Accident Lawyer in Utica, New York

An underride crash can result in costly and debilitating injuries that could leave a victim temporarily or permanently disabled. If you are hurt in a crash with a large truck, contact one a commercial trucking accident lawyers in Utica, New York. USAttorneys.com can connect you with an accredited and dedicated lawyer to assist you during this difficult time. They can help you build a solid claim so that you recover maximum compensation for your injuries or the untimely death of a loved one.

Speak to a truck accident lawyer in New York if you are seriously injured in a tucking wreck.