Georgia motorists and their passengers might be safer if large trucks have both side and rear underride guards, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Rules for rear underride guards have been moving through the federal regulatory process. Earlier in 2017, the organization conducted two 35-mph crash tests to test the safety benefits of side underride guards.
In one test, a 53-foot dry van trailer had an underride guard attached. In the other test, the trailer was equipped with a fiberglass skirt designed to improve aerodynamics but not protect against underrides. A midsize passenger car hit the trailer in the center for both tests. In the first test, the car damaged the underride guard, but the guard prevented it from going under the trailer. In the second test, part of the roof came off as the car became wedged under the trailer. According to the IIHS, if the car had been carrying people, fatalities would have been likely.
Traffic fatalities in general are on the rise, and the nonprofit organization has urged a mandate for side underride guards. This was the first test of side underride guards by the IIHS.
Because of the potential for incidents such as underrides or spilling hazardous material as well as the sheer size of trucks, a truck accident may be particularly dangerous for people in cars or pedestrians. Even if an accident is not fatal, a person might suffer a catastrophic injury which could make it impossible to return to work for a prolonged period. If the accident is the fault of the truck driver and the injured victim does not receive sufficient compensation, one option might be to file with the help of an attorney a civil lawsuit against the driver and the company the driver was working for when the accident occurred.