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Proposed Legislation Aims to Reduce Underride Accidents

Posted onMay 11, 2021

Proposed Legislation Aims to Reduce Underride Accidents

Underride accidents are some of the most deadly types of truck crashes on our highways, and Congress is considering legislation to improve underride safety. If you were injured, contact a Tulsa truck accident attorney right away.

Congress is currently considering a bipartisan proposal hoping to reduce the number of severe underride accidents that happen involving commercial trucks. The Stop Underrides Act was reintroduced in March 2021 by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), as well as House Representatives Mark DeSaulinier (D-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN). The measure aims to update and increase safety requirements regarding underride guards on tractor-trailers to prevent what are often deadly crashes.

It takes time for legislation to pass and become law, so for the time being, the current outdated underride safety standards will stand. If you are involved in an underride crash or if you lost a loved one, you should not wait to speak with a Tulsa truck accident attorney who can help.

Potential Updates to Safety Requirements

Commercial vehicles have a much higher clearance than other vehicles, and in certain collisions, it is possible for smaller vehicles to become wedged underneath a truck’s tractor or trailer. Currently, the trailers of commercial trucks must have rear safety bars intended to prevent smaller cars from severe passenger compartment intrusion in the event the car rear ends the trailer. However, legislators claim the requirements are outdated and do not prevent all rear underride crashes from happening. In addition, the current requirements do not protect from side underrides (side collisions with smaller vehicles) or front override (collisions with the rear of a smaller vehicle) accidents.

The Stop Underrides Act would require stronger safety bars to be installed on the back, sides, and even the front of commercial trucks and trailers. If enacted, the law would also set annual inspection requirements for underride guards, as well as require the Department of Transportation to regularly review and potentially update standards in light of technological advancements.

Many trucking industry parties oppose the bill, claiming that it is too costly for trucking companies to meet the updated requirements. However, legislators have stated that it is worth the costs, as the new standards will likely save hundreds of lives per year.

What Causes Underride Accidents?

Underride accidents usually occur when a trailing vehicle is unable to stop in time and ends up hitting the back of a truck’s trailer. They can also occur when smaller vehicles collide with the side or the front of a commercial tractor-trailer.

In many cases, these collisions are due to the carelessness or recklessness of big rig drivers who fail to follow basic safety rules. Some of the more common causes of underride accidents include:

  1. Defective trailer brake lights
  2. Truck drivers suddenly braking without reason
  3. Truckers changing lanes without signaling or checking their side view mirrors and blind spots
  4. Coupling device failures
  5. Truckers failing to account for adverse weather conditions

No matter how an underride accident occurs, it can cause severe or even fatal head and neck injuries, among others.

What to Do after a Commercial Truck Accident

The aftermath of a truck accident can be confusing and chaotic. The things that you say and do during the days and weeks after your crash can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, so it’s important to take steps to protect your rights. Here are some of the most important steps to take after an accident involving a commercial truck:

Call a Lawyer

If you haven’t already, contact an attorney as soon as you can. The representation of a lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you are owed under Oklahoma law.

Seek Medical Attention and Follow Your Treatment Plan

You should be sure to undergo a thorough medical evaluation and follow all of your doctor’s orders. Aside from ensuring that your medical needs are met, having any unexplained lapses or gaps in treatment might negatively affect your claim against the at-fault driver.

Avoid Posting on Social Media

Insurance companies will do everything they can to pay as little as possible to settle claims.. For this reason, they often monitor claimants’ social media profiles for anything they can use to justify reducing a settlement offer. It’s a good idea to avoid social media entirely while your case is pending.

Seek Help from an Experienced Tulsa Truck Accident Attorney

At Wandres Law, PC, we are committed to helping people hurt in truck accidents recover compensation for their losses. Our skilled team of lawyers is well-versed in truck accident law and knows how to get insurance companies to pay what is fair. To schedule your free case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Tulsa, call (918) 641-4044 or contact us online.

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