Why Are Underride Truck Crashes Dangerous?
Of the many different types of lethal truck accidents, few are so dangerous and rare as underride crashes. Underrides refer to situations in which smaller vehicles strike the rear or side of a truck’s cargo trailer, forcing the front of their vehicle underneath the trailer while their passenger cabin strikes it directly. Cars are designed for normal collisions from the front, and to a lesser degree, the side, but feature little to no protection from above beyond a relatively flimsy cabin frame. Underrides directly crush the fragile passenger cabin of smaller vehicles, often alongside the driver and passengers within as well, hence their high fatality rates.
How Underrides Happen
In theory, underrides should be even rarer than they are thanks to extensive safety regulations and maintenance requirements within the trucking industry. Trucker hours of service regulations, mandatory certifications, repair schedules, and similar policies aim to minimize truck accidents as much as possible, but unfortunately, are sometimes ignored out of negligence or a desire to cut corners for profit. In the case of underrides, the key point of contention is the presence, or lack thereof, of truck underride guards.
When a smaller vehicle collides with a truck’s trailer, the front portion of it can slip underneath the empty space beneath the trailer, leading to a lethal underride. Truck underride guards are low-hanging metal bars that prevent entry, ensuring that the smaller vehicle’s bumpers absorb most of the impact as they’re designed to. At this time, rear truck underride guards are mandatory, but side guards are not. This leads to two distinct common causes of different types of underrides:
- Rear-collisions are often the result of tailgating, impaired driving, speeding, and poor visibility of the truck. However, since underride guards should always be in place on the rear, rear-collision underrides are usually due to faulty maintenance of the underride guard or a complete lack of adherence to federal policy.
- Side-collision underrides can result from any side-on collision with the truck’s trailer, as guards don’t legally have to be installed. These usually occur at intersections and similar turns where the truck and victim vehicle approach one another at opposing angles.
Recovering from Arizona Underride Truck Accidents
In order for an underride to occur, the crash in question has to involve fairly high speeds. As such, underride truck accidents almost universally involve extensive injuries, totaled vehicles, and death, which will inflict extensive physical, emotional, and financial damages on the victims. If you’ve been injured by or lost a loved one to one such underride accident, you can file for extensive compensation to help you get back on your feet.
As you journey through the claims process, know that you’re not alone. ELG’s Arizona truck accident attorneys can give you strong legal counsel while simultaneously handling the paperwork and hassle on your behalf. You can easily schedule a free consultation with one of our legal professionals by giving us a call at (623) 877-3600, giving you the opportunity to have all of your questions answered by a compassionate, experienced, and altogether capable lawyer. We’ll stay with you every step of the way, ensuring that you receive all the compensation you deserve while freeing up as much of your time as possible to focus on your well being.