When driving in close proximity to commercial trucks, it’s critical to take extra precautions to avoid an accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) lists underride and override crashes as the most-deadly accidents involving trucks.
Underride accidents occur when smaller vehicles go partially or completely under the sides or back end of a semitruck, while override accidents involve cars being run over by the front end of a large truck.
The vast majority are front-end crashes
An IIHS study of fatal crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles found that the majority of crashes involve the front of semis. The results show:
- 57% were override crashes
- 22% were underride crashes to the rear of trucks
- 20% were underride crashes to the sides of trucks
What is being done to help prevent fatal accidents?
Over the years, federal agencies have taken a variety of steps to reduce the potential of override and underride accidents because of the number of deaths they cause. In 1998, a federal law upgraded the rear-impact guard standard to minimize the risk.
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended another upgrade to rear underride regulations. More recently, in 2017, the agency rolled out the TOUGHGUARD award to recognize guards designed to prevent these accidents. This has resulted in all eight of the largest guard manufacturing companies qualifying for the award.
Prevention efforts focus on back end collisions
Unfortunately, government intervention and guards designed to prevent accidents primarily address collisions with the back of large commercial trucks. There are no regulations targeting front or side-impact accidents, where most crashes occur.
You may have seen semitrucks with side panels between their front and rear tires. However, they are not required. Some lawmakers have been pushing for front and side guards like they have in Europe. At this point, these important safety measures remain optional. For this reason and others, it’s critical to leave as much space as possible between your vehicle and any commercial trucks on the road.
If you are injured in an underride or override accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your losses.