Senate Bill Calls for Underride Guards on all Trucks and Trailers

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Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on a new Senate bill that requires all trucks and trailers to be outfitted with underride guards.Underride truck accidents are some of the most devastating wrecks that occur on roads and highways across the country today, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. To reduce these tragic accidents, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla introduced a bill that would require all trucks and trailers to install front, rear, and side underride guards. Known as the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, if passed, it could have a major impact on the number of motorists who are injured in these horrific accidents.

According to Gillibrand, even when the passenger vehicle is driving at a relatively low speed, underride accidents can be fatal. If the motorist was lucky enough to survive, they often suffer severe head and neck injuries that can lead to permanent impairments. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board recommend the installation of rear, side, and front underride guards as a necessary step to preventing future injuries and fatalities.

Underride Guards Must Meet Specific Requirements

If the bill is passed, rear and side underride guards must be able to prevent a passenger vehicle traveling a minimum of 35 miles per hour from crashing underneath the trailer. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will be responsible for conducting research on the front underride guard’s ability to prevent the truck from overriding a vehicle in front of it. To ensure that the underride guards comply, they will be subject to inspections by the Commercial Vehicles Safety Alliance. They may also be subject to pre-trip inspections. Once the bill is passed, if a truck driver is not in compliance with the new rules, he or she will be placed out of service.

According to Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., this legislation takes advantage of car safety technologies that have been required for decades in passenger vehicles. When you compare the side skirts that are still on many trucks today to underride guards, the underride guards are significantly more effective at preventing cars from sliding underneath the truck. Strong rear, side, and front underride guards will prevent countless unnecessary fatalities.

The U.S. DOT will be reviewing proposals for rear underride guard prototypes that can protect drivers from life-threatening or fatal injuries, even if they are driving at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. They will re-evaluate the effectiveness of the guards every five years. In addition, a Committee of Underride Protection will be established, which will include truck manufacturers, engineers, crash reconstructionists, traffic safety organizations, public health professionals, and family members who have been personally affected by an underride crash. This committee will oversee the rulemaking process.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Underride Truck Accidents

If you or someone you know has been involved in a devastating underride truck accident, we understand how traumatic this can be. The Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have extensive experience negotiating sizeable compensations for victims of truck accidents, and we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential 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 truck 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.