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Preventing Underride Collisions

May 2, 2018

“The attachment of safety guards could prevent one of the most frightening and life-threatening types of automobile accidents.”

Commercial trucks pose great risks on Montana roadways. Collisions with these trucks can result in serious injuries, catastrophic property damage, and sometimes death. Despite the precautions and regulations aimed to minimize trucking-related injuries, collisions with these massive freight vehicles are still on the rise. One of the most deadly, yet most preventable truck-related crashes is the underride collision.

What Is an Underride Collision?

When a passenger vehicle ends up trapped under a larger commercial fright truck, it’s called underride collisions/underride accidents (the passenger car is literally “under” the truck). There are three kinds of underride collisions: frontal underrides, rear underrides, and side underrides.

Frontal underrides occur when a commercial truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle, and the vehicle is overtaken by the front of the truck. The momentum and mass of the commercial truck push it up and over the small vehicle, seriously endangering the lives of the occupants.

Conversely, rear underrides involve a passenger vehicle striking the rear-end of the commercial truck. With enough speed, the passenger vehicle can actually be pushed under the tires. Again, a very dangerous situation for the drivers and passengers in the car.

Finally, side underrides occur when a car passes between the wheels of the trailer of a commercial truck. This often-times happens when trucks are merging lanes and fail to see the passenger vehicle.

Obviously, each of these three types of underride collisions is incredibly dangerous for ordinary drivers. They often-times lead to traffic fatalities. What can we do to avoid them?

Preventing Underride Collisions/Underride Accidents

Although we’ll never completely eliminate underride collisions, we can take preventive measures to minimize their prevalence. One idea is the mandatory use of side and rear truck safety-guards.

These guards are basically panel attachments that are fastened to the truck. Instead of going under the truck, when a passenger car strikes the commercial vehicle, they will hit the panel and be pushed away.

Sadly, these attachments aren’t required for U.S. freight companies (although they are in Canada). Because these guards are voluntary, many domestic trucking companies choose not to invest in these life-saving devices, or they’ll purchase cheap plastic versions that aren’t nearly as effective.

Faulty or inadequate guards can result in tragedy. When truck drivers and trucking companies put profits before safety, the cost is often measured in lives. If you or a loved one sustained critical injuries in an otherwise preventable underride crash, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Consult an experienced attorney to hear your options.