Studies conducted by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that a popular truck device used to increase safety may actually be causing hundreds of fatalities each year. According to the study, truck safety guards may actually be causing fatalities through decapitation in car accidents involving trucks.
The unusual thing is that truck safety guards are in fact designed to help prevent the very accident them seem to be making worse. The guards are designed to help prevent underride accidents, or accidents in which a car slips underneath a truck. The guards are supposed to ensure that cars cannot slide under the truck and the guards are approved to help prevent injuries by the US.
Despite this, the IIHS study found that in three of six tests, truck safety guards in fact lead to decapitations and other serious injuries in an underride accident. According to the IIHS, the study shows that the trucking industry needs to make changes to prevent these accidents. In some cases, researchers found that the guards actually made the accidents much worse and effectively ensured that in an underride accident there would be no survivors.
Part of the problem, according to researchers, is that truck safety guards are attached to a truck with hardware. In some tests, this hardware appeared to fail, so that during the force of an impact, the hardware did not hold, rendering the guard ineffective. As well, the study found that the NHTSA mandates no testing of truck safety guards, which means that trucking companies can have faulty guards with no inspections and no consequences.
The IIHS researchers made a few recommendations as a result of the study. For example, they recommended that the NHTSA institute rules ensuring that truck safety guards are strengthened and new hardware or new systems for ensuring that the guards are securely attached to trucks. Some trucking industry experts are supporting the proposed changes. Currently, the NHTSA is reviewing its rules regarding truck safety guards, but the review may not be complete until next year.
Across the country, over 400 people die annually in underride accidents – the very accidents which truck safety guards are designed to prevent. Many Florida truck accident and Florida car accident fatalities are also attributed to underride accidents. Such accidents may be preventable with better truck safety guards, as even high safety-rated cars tested by the IIHS tested poorly with the problematic guards, All cars are currently vulnerable to these types of accidents.
If you have been injured in a Florida truck accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights and options. The Flaxman Law Group is based in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood and serves the entire Southern Florida area. With thousands of cases successfully completed, the Flaxman Law Group is the experienced legal team.