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Legislators consider mandating truck underride guards

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are a common site across most of Texas, but many motorists feel uneasy when driving near them. Car-on-truck crashes occur for many different reasons. Yet, many injuries and fatalities result from motorists winding up underneath tractor-trailers in crashes. For this reason, legislators are considering creating a mandate dictating that all commercial trucks on U.S. roads must have truck underride guards.

According to Trucking Info, similar bills took shape in 2017, 2019 and 2021, but, to date, none have made it into law.

How truck underride guards enhance safety

A 2017 review by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety highlighted the benefits of mandating underride guards on commercial trucks. Crash data shows that when passenger cars collide with trucks while traveling at a speed of 35 mph, those riding inside are more likely to die in the incident if the truck lacks an underride guard. When a driver crashes into the side of a truck without underride guards and the motorist lives, the chances of him or her suffering serious injuries in the incident are high.

What lawmakers are proposing

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to create a rule that would require all commercial trucks to have side underride guards on their trailers to prevent vehicles from drifting underneath them from the sides. NHTSA also recommended creating a federal advisory committee to study the effectiveness of side underride guards in preventing injuries and fatalities.

With commercial trucks in Texas now weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, it has become critically important for legislators to figure out how to reduce the number of car-on-truck crashes that take place on the nation’s roadways.