The alarming statistics surrounding heavy truck collisions in the United States demand immediate attention. With an average of 5,000 fatalities annually, an increase of nearly 50% since 2011, and countless injuries, it is evident that urgent action is needed. Underride crashes, where vehicles slide beneath the trailers of big trucks, pose a significant threat to motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists, claiming hundreds of lives each year.
In a comprehensive investigation conducted by FRONTLINE and ProPublica, it was revealed that regulatory agencies and the trucking industry have long resisted implementing safety devices despite extensive evidence and court records highlighting their effectiveness. Shockingly, federal officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration possessed data on underride crashes dating back to the 1960s but failed to implement simple, life-saving solutions.
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 400 individuals lost their lives in underride accidents in 2021. However, experts believe that the true fatality count may be higher than officially reported.
While modern motor vehicles are equipped with various safety features designed to mitigate collision severity, these technologies prove ineffective in underride collisions due to the significant height disparity between passenger vehicles and trucks. The lower edge of a trailer commonly strikes the windshield of the smaller vehicle, collapsing the car’s roof-supporting steel beams and potentially preventing airbag deployment.
Compounding the issue, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), a prominent advocate for large commercial haulers, has historically opposed regulations that would improve the safety of rear underride guards, which could save lives. ATA’s Vice President for safety policy, Dan Horvath, admitted that cost considerations played a significant role in the industry’s stance. Despite this, Horvath emphasized that trucking companies invest billions of dollars annually to enhance safety protocols, including the implementation of new braking technologies and rigorous driver drug testing. Safety is not merely a slogan but a fundamental aspect of their business operations, according to Horvath.
In light of these concerning developments, we are committed to evaluating truck injury cases on behalf of your clients, family, and friends. Our firm recognizes the urgency of improving truck safety and seeks to advocate for those affected by these preventable accidents.
Call 213-625-3900 today or contact us online to discuss your legal needs.