Truck Underride Accidents

Underride collisions are an extremely dangerous type of truck accident in which a smaller vehicle passes beneath a large truck. In these crashes, the smaller vehicle’s roof can be crushed or sheared off, resulting in serious injuries or even death. A Sarasota injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need and deserve if you have been seriously injured in an underride accident or if your family member was killed in one.

Causes of Underride Accidents

When a smaller vehicle slides under the rear of a large truck, it is known as a rear underride collision. When a vehicle slides under the side of a truck, it is called a side underride collision. Below are some common truck-related causes of these dangerous accidents:

  • Broken or dim tail lights or side lights
  • Brake light malfunction
  • Tire failure
  • Missing or defective underride guards
  • Traveling slower than other vehicles
  • Failure to activate hazard lights when traveling at low speeds
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Sudden braking
  • Failure to maintain a safe distance
  • Driver fatigue or inattention
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to use cones, flares or reflective triangles when stopped in the shoulder

A reckless truck driver and/or negligent trucking company or parts manufacturer may be legally liable for a truck accident involving underride.

Preventing Underride Accidents

Large trucks are often equipped with underride guards to prevent underride from occurring in the event of a crash. These long pieces of steel are attached to the front, side or rear of the truck and are intended to block smaller vehicles from passing underneath it. The United States currently has regulations in place for rear underride guards, though the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found them to be lacking.

IIHS, which has been studying underride collisions for around 30 years, petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2011 for better underride guard regulations. After conducting simulated crash tests and analyzing real-world crash data, IIHS concluded that rear underride guards often fail, even in crashes with speeds as low as 35 mph. Based on these findings, IIHS wants NHTSA to:

  • Minimize underride guard exemptions
  • Reassess the height of rear guards
  • Mandate stronger guards that will remain in place during a crash
  • Revise testing requirements, which currently allow underride guard components to be tested separately, so the entire system must be tested as a whole and while attached to the truck

If a truck accident caused you to suffer serious injuries or resulted in the death of your loved one,contact an experienced Sarasota injury lawyer today.