New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

Calls for federal big-rig side-underride guard requirements

At our law firm, we represent the victims of motor vehicle accidents in the quest for justice for our clients and the public. When a negligent or reckless driver causes injury or death in a collision with another vehicle or a motorcycle, bicyclist or pedestrian, we fight for money damages in a personal injury lawsuit to cover medical bills, property damage, lost wages and earning capacity, long-term care, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Among the most dangerous kinds of crashes are those involving semi-trucks. Obviously given the weight and size of a giant tractor trailer the potential for catastrophic injuries greatly increases in crashes involving these cases.

Underride accidents

Most people have noticed when following a semi truck that there is a sizable horizontal steel bar or guard suspended from the back bottom of the trailer, designed to block a smaller vehicle from sliding underneath the truck in a rear-end collision. According to the Associated Press, the federal requirement that these rear guard rails be installed came about a half-century ago after a highly publicized accident in which actress Jayne Mansfield died in such an accident.

Side underride guards

A movement is now afoot to also require underride guards on the sides of big rigs, either through a federal statute or an agency regulation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. The AP article describes such advocacy efforts by parents of children lost in such crashes. The idea also has the support of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS reports that it has conducted tests that show that underride guards on the side of semi-trucks can be effective in preventing side underride accidents. IIHS believes that underride guards on the sides could greatly reduce serious injury or death to car passengers.

Here at Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., we support all efforts to improve truck-accident injury and death outcomes.

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