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Can side guard rails on trucks prevent fatalities?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, truck guard rails could not only reduce the number of crashes but prevent fatalities. These aren't the guard rails that we all see along interstates and highways. They are guard rails on large trucks.

Under federal law, these trucks must be equipped with rear underride guards. Those prevent cars from going under trucks in a crash. However, there is no law requiring side guards, which can prevent fatalities if a vehicle hits the side of a trailer. Over 300 people were killed in such collisions in 2015.

An executive with the IIHS says, "We think a mandate for side underride guards on large trucks has merit, especially as crash deaths continue to rise on our roads." In crash tests using a side guard rail, while the cars were seriously damaged, the evidence indicated, based on what happened to the crash test dummies, that humans inside the vehicle would not have been killed.

A spokesman for the American Trucking Associations said that there are other factors to be considered. He asserts that side guard rails can present their own safety risk because they require stiffer trailers and that those trailers may develop cracks. The ATA is advocating for other safety technology, such as forward collision warning systems, electronic logging devices and automatic emergency braking.

Obviously, everyone wants both truck drivers and those who share the road with them to be as safe as possible. Although safety regulations and measures have increased over the years, a car/truck collision is likely to turn out far worse for the people in the smaller vehicle.

Anyone who is involved in a crash with a truck or has lost a loved one in crash, it's essential to find out what individuals and/or businesses are responsible. An experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "Safety group says truck guard rails could prevent deaths," Dee-Ann Durbin, May 10, 2017

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