Are underride guards really a safety feature, or are they just there for aesthetics? Do they really help to prevent harm in a Pennsylvania truck wreck, or do they exist only to make the passenger in the following vehicle feel a little safer? Even though they are thought to be the saving grace should a vehicle strike the rear of a tractor trailer, the truth of the matter is that underride guards can buckle. This can lead to the front end of a passenger vehicle sliding beneath the truck and causing fatal injuries.
If someone you love has been fatally injured in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey truck crash because of a weak underride bar, you need to protect your rights. Order your free copy of How to Maximize Your Pennsylvania Car Accident Case Before an Insurance Company Takes Advantage of You to find out more about your rights and options following the loss of a loved one in a Pennsylvania truck crash.
These underride bars, which really are in place to protect passengers in the event of a rear-end strike to a tractor trailer, have been shown to fail and cause catastrophic injuries. They need to be made stronger, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) regulations are so weak that the manufacturers don’t have any motivation to put extra money into strengthening them.
This weakness was recently discovered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) when they conducted a strength test on 3 different types of tractor trailer underride guards. Their reason for doing this is because they noticed a trend in fatal injuries as a result of severe underride into the tractor trailer. They wanted to study exactly how and why these guards fail in order to propose a solution that will prevent these fatal injuries from occurring.
In order to test the bars, the IIHS crashed a Chevrolet Malibu into the rear of a parked tractor trailer at 35mph. The Chevrolet Malibu is an Institute TOP SAFETY PICK and earned a 5-star safety rating in the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program.
The findings of the IIHS testing were very concerning and unsettling. They found that one trailer, which met U.S. standards but not stricter Canadian standards, buckled when struck at 35 mph, leading to severe underride. The trailers which met Canadian standards supported the force of a 35 mph strike, but only if applied directly in the center of the underride bar. In all three cases, if the bar was struck on the side, it did not support the force and allowed for partial or complete underride.
The IIHS concluded that, even if your vehicle has a 5-star rating for frontal crash tests, that rating does not matter if the underride bar fails. Only stricter NHTSA regulations can save the lives that are lost in these devastating crashes.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal Pennsylvania truck crash due to an underride, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Contact Cordisco & Saile to speak with a Bucks County fatal injury lawyer about your case details.