Parents and other safety advocates in Ohio and across the country are concerned that proposed legislation aiming to reduce fatal truck accidents has seen little progress since it was introduced in Congress in 2017. Underride crashes, in which a passenger car slides under the carriage of a large truck or semi-trailer, can be devastating and often fatal. Severe head and neck injuries are common in these types of accidents, even when they occur at low speeds. Protective gear, called underride guards, can reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash.
Federal safety standards already mandate that trucks maintain rear underride guards. In 2011 alone, 260 people were killed in rear-end crashes. This represented 19 percent of all fatalities linked to trucking accidents. However, underride guards are not currently required on the front and sides of trucks. As a result, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced the Stop Underrides Act of 2017. In addition to mandating front and side underride guards, the proposed bill would also update standards for the rear guards. It would include the equipment as part of mandatory annual inspections and require the Department of Transportation to review standards every five years.
However, the bill has remained at a standstill in the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for a year as of December 2018. No further hearings are scheduled on the bill at least until the new Congress returns in January 2019.
Trucking accidents can be particularly devastating and lead to catastrophic injuries or fatalities. However, truck accident injury lawyers can help victims of negligent drivers seek compensation for their damages, which may include medical bills and lost wages.