The major size difference is a big part of what makes a crash between a passenger vehicle and a commercial semi-truck so dangerous. Most drivers employ special safety practices when they are close to a commercial truck in traffic. They give them more space and likely try to avoid them as much as possible. Commercial drivers also have more training than the average driver.
Despite these safety efforts, collisions between large commercial vehicles and smaller passenger vehicles happen frequently. These wrecks cause major vehicle damage and injuries to those inside the smaller vehicles while causing minimal damage to the truck in many cases.
Some of the worst crashes are underride collisions. An underride crash occurs when the smaller passenger vehicle strikes the commercial truck and ends up traveling underneath the commercial vehicle. A large number of these tragic collisions would be far less serious if commercial transportation companies invested more money in the underride guards on their vehicles.
Underride guards save lives during crashes
If you ever looked at the metal hanging from the rear of a truck trailer and thought that it looked dangerous, you may not have understood its purpose. Those metal bars exist specifically to stop a vehicle from passing under the trailer, which often leads to occupant fatalities. They can be the difference between major injuries and fatal injuries.
Unfortunately, some trucking companies buy the cheapest guards they can rather than the most effective ones. They may also choose not to install side underride guards, which are long, thin metal sheets that hang between the axles on a truck’s trailer and prevent side underride collisions. The government does not currently require side underwrite guards, and many trucking companies therefore do not use them.
Inadequate maintenance can contribute to liability
Certain factors, like poor vehicle maintenance, can increase a truck company’s liability following a collision. You may have grounds for an insurance claim against the company’s policy or possibly a lawsuit.
The stronger the evidence that a better underride guard would have reduced injuries or saved lives in the crash that affected you, the better your case for a claim against a trucking company that would rather keep its costs low than protect the public. Learning more about what factors influence commercial trucking claims can help those affected by a semitruck collision.