An elderly driver in Florida recently died when he drove under the side of a large eighteen wheeler. This side underride crash should never have happened! You can read the news article HERE.
The need for side underride protection is a topic I’ve addressed in past articles. You can read a couple of my prior articles at:
Long Commercial Trucks Frequently Pull Across Opposing Lanes Of Traffic!
We’ve all seen it. A large commercial truck pulls across opposing traffic lanes to turn. This is a common sight on many Alabama highways. A large commercial truck simply does not fit into a small median. Just drive Highway 431 from Huntsville to Anniston — Large trucks stretched across oncoming lanes of traffic are very common!
Maybe you’ve faced a truck spread across the highway directly in front of you! Suddenly, you are looking head-on at the side of a truck. You have to stop quickly. What if the truck is stopped and cannot complete its maneuver crossing oncoming traffic? What if the eighteen wheeler is stretched across the highway at dusk or at night making visibility even more difficult. At night on the highway, drivers have very little time to recognize the danger and take proper action.
When A Car Drives Under The Side Of A Truck The Results Are Almost Always Tragic!
I’ve heard all the arguments. Some truck drivers say side underride crashes are pretty rare. While the number of accidents may be small, the results are almost always tragic. When a car goes under the side of a truck, the top is typically sheared. Usually, the driver and passengers are killed.
Do we ignore a risk simply based on the low frequency at which it occurs? No. Side underride cases are almost always fatal. And, they are easily preventable by simple side guards on the truck.
We Should Require Commercial Trucks To Have Side Under-ride Guards
Are side guards effective? Yes, they are. Absolutely. Rear safety guards have been mandated on large commercial trucks for decades. And, they work. You don’t hear about underride accidents at the rear of a truck because they don’t happen.
Also, we’ve seen the real safety results of side guards in other countries where they are required. While I’ve mainly discussed cars riding underneath the side of a truck, bicyclists and pedestrians are also a problem. In urban areas, bicyclists and pedestrians are frequently injured or killed by going underneath the side of a truck. Side safety guards have been required for decades in the United Kingdom and Japan. In the United Kingdom, truck-related bicycle fatalities dropped 61% after side guards became mandatory. Pedestrian deaths dropped by 21%.
Highway safety professionals in our country have long argued for side guards on large trucks. And, proposals for side guards have been made in Congress. Why haven’t we adopted this common sense safety requirement?
The answer is simple. The trucking industry has lobbied against it. In the U.S., the trucking industry has lots of money and lots of influence. Safety is not their main concern. Too often, lobbyists put profits over people. That’s wrong. For trucking lobbyists its about money, despite the fact that the cost for side safety guards is minimal.
Curious about side safety guards? Read my prior articles. In one of them, I discuss past efforts by two U.S. Senators to propose legislation. I also include a link to a special report by NBC on the issue. Side under-ride tragedies are easily preventable. Other countries have acted to protect people. When will our Congress act?
When you put your loved ones in a car, they deserve the protections of available safety devices. If we can prevent a hazard that is almost always deadly with such a small cost, it is unconscionable to ignore it!