Underride CollisionsTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. January 30, 2019
Underride collisions are one of the deadliest types of truck accidents. An underride collision occurs when a smaller vehicle slides under a large tractor-trailer. These accidents are frequently fatal because the bottom of the truck may crush the top of the smaller vehicle on impact. Underride accidents aren’t limited to rear-end collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, (IIHS) of underride crashes, 57% were found to have occurred with the front of the truck, 22% involved the rear, and 20% involved the side of the truck.
Causes of Underride Collisions
Anytime a smaller vehicle slides and becomes wedged under the truck it is considered an underride collision. These accidents often occur as the result of:
- Poor visibility—night blindness or inclement weather can make a tractor-trailer hard to see. Improper reflective gear on the truck can contribute to an accident.
- Poor brake maintenance—defective brake lights on a truck can prevent a car driver from noticing when the truck stops or slows down and increases the risk of slamming into the truck
- Reckless or distracted driving—these factors can lead to truck and car drivers making poor decisions. Improper lane changes and following too closely can all contribute to underride collisions
- Improper underside guards—in many cases trucks are not equipped with adequate safety guards to prevent a car from becoming lodged underneath. Either the truck doesn’t have guards or the guards are not sturdy enough to prevent a car from getting under the truck. In addition, even the sturdiest guards aren’t enough to prevent an underride collision when the vehicles are moving at a high rate of speed.
Prevention of Underride Collisions
While careful and attentive driving by both the car drivers and the truck drivers are the most important way to prevent underride collisions, proper underside guards also play a significant role. Trucks operating in the United States are required to have rear underride guards. They are not, however, required to have guards on the side of the trucks. An IIHS test found that side and rear underride guards have significant safety benefits. A push has been made to require side underride guards, but despite the fact that 200 people are killed in side underride collisions every year, action has still not been taken.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an underride collision, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the experienced and trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule a free consultation today.