Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers: Side Underride CrashesFebruary 27, 2017
Few motor vehicle accidents are more devastating than side underride crashes. These occur when a car collides into the side of a tractor–trailer, ripping the top off the vehicle and leaving little chance of survival for the occupants of the car. The gruesome nature in which the victims die often include decapitation, among other catastrophic injuries. For the surviving family and friends who must face the overwhelming grief of losing a loved one in such a tragic way, the pain is unimaginable. The sad reality is that many of these deaths could have been prevented if the trucks were equipped with side guards in addition to the rear guards that now required on the back of trucks.
According to government statistics, over 200 people are killed each year in side underride crashes. In April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a non-binding recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that all new tractor-trailers be equipped with side protection guards. As one of the agencies that investigates traffic accidents, the NTSB concluded that side guards would prevent severe injuries and deaths associated with these types of truck accidents.
Families of Victims Seek Side Guard Requirements for All Trucks
Research into the benefits of side guard requirements began after a 26-year-old woman and her fiancé were killed after losing control of their car during a snowstorm. The car skidded under a passing truck and was run over by the rear wheels. The woman died before ever reaching the hospital. During a trip to Europe, her mother noticed that every truck that they passed had side guards. Knowing that her daughter could be alive today if the truck involved in the fatal wreck had been equipped with side guards, the grief-stricken mother is now a strong advocate for the safety equipment.
Truck Lobbyists Oppose Side Guard Requirements
Regardless of the proven safety benefits of side guards, truck industry lobbyists, including the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, have opposed the side guard requirement. In a 2014 letter to the NHTSA, lobbyists cited increased costs associated with the guards and a concern that the guards could negatively affect other parts of the truck. According to a consumer advocate who was in charge of the NHTSA in the 1970s, the trucking industry is against implementing new safety standards, including side guards, because it will drive up the price of the truck.
The trucking industry is big business with many powerful lobbyists who funnel money to powerful lawmakers. According to safety advocates, lawmakers received over $9 million from the transportation industry last year alone. The executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition commented on how influential these contributions can be, making it an uphill battle for safety advocates. However, the NHTSA has the power to issue safety regulations, starting with appealing to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Side Underride Crashes
If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a side underride crash with a tractor-trailer, you know how devastating this kind of accident can be. If you were lucky enough to survive the crash, you may have suffered permanent, debilitating injuries. The dedicated and compassionate Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve so that you can begin to recover from such a traumatic event. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.