Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers

Underride Collisions

Truck accidents involving underride collisions are one of the most devastating and fatal types of wrecks. When a vehicle collides with a truck, even at a relatively low speed, it often ends up underneath it. Many of these underride collisions result in the car losing its roof, often leading to fatal injuries for occupants. While many truck companies are installing underride guards on their tractor-trailers, they do not always prevent these types of trucking accidents from happening. For this reason, the Institute for Highway Safety (IHS) is calling for stronger guards that will be more effective at preventing these deadly collisions.

The underride guards are steel bars that hang from the back of truck. They are designed to prevent cars from sliding underneath the truck upon impact. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) put them to a test by driving a 2010 Chevy Malibu at 35 miles per hour into the rear of a parked trailer. The guard gave way, and the car ended up under the truck. If there were real passengers in the vehicle and not crash test dummies, they would not have survived the crash.

According to Adrian Lund, president of the IHS, the chances of surviving an underride collision, especially if the underride guards fail, is highly unlikely. Even cars that receive top ratings when it comes to frontal crash tests cannot withstand the crash energy from a truck collision. According to Lund, the standards must be higher, as many of the guards are failing even at relatively low speeds.

Types of Underride Collisions

  • Side Underride Collisions: This type of collision usually happens at night when a truck driver is crossing a street, making a U-turn, or attempting to back across traffic. Truck drivers assume that other drivers on the road can see them turning or crossing. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as a large truck does not always stand out in the dark. The ability to see a large truck at night depends on the following factors:
    • Color: It is difficult to see an object that is a similar color as its background. In addition, a truck that is a dark color is more difficult to see at night than one that is a brighter color.
    • Movement: An object that is moving slowly will be more difficult to detect in the dark than one that is moving at higher speeds.
    • Brightness: An object that is bright or reflective will contrast against a dark background. If the trailer’s side lighting is dirty or not functioning properly, it will affect the ability of other drivers to see the truck.
    • Shape: If a truck has shapes or markings on it that are inconsistent, it will be easier for other drivers on the road to detect than if it has uniform markings or none at all.
    • Size: Large objects are typically easier to detect than small ones. However, this is not always the case with trucks, since a large truck can appear black at night if it does not have any additional lighting or reflective markings across its length.
  • Rear Underride Collisions: This type of collision occurs when a vehicle hits the rear of a truck, causing it to run under. This typically happens when a truck is poorly marked, moving slowly as it enters a road, or slowing down at an intersection or railroad crossing. Other causes include a failure to place reflective triangles on the road when parked or broken down, or a failure to engage emergency flashers when necessary.It is often difficult for other drivers to process the distance between the lights and the mounting height because, depending on the type of truck, the taillights can be placed at varying heights. This can make it difficult for drivers to judge how far away the truck is and how quickly it is approaching. The U.S. Department of Transportation has made it a requirement for all trucks to use conspicuous markings. Many drivers use reflective tape, which must be two inches tall and have a red and while alternating pattern. This is very effective at making trucks more visible to other drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a statement saying that they are well aware of the underride issue and that that they are taking steps to address it.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Victims Seek Maximum Compensation

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you are urged to contact our Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible so that we can determine who is responsible for your injuries and secure the best possible financial settlement. For 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 clients throughout 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, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.