Earlier this year, a Mississippi man miraculously survived a dangerous type of tractor trailer accident that is known as an underride accident. The accident occurred when the man, who was driving an SUV, struck a tractor trailer that was merging onto the highway from a weigh station. As the SUV collided with the tractor trailer from the left, it became stuck underneath it. Emergency response personnel used the Jaws of Life to free the injured man from the wreckage so that he could be transported to a hospital for treatment.
Underride accidents happen when the front of a passenger vehicle goes underneath the trailer of a tractor trailer, either from the side or from the rear. In many underride accidents, the top of the passenger vehicle is sheared off, which increases the risk of severe injury and death for its occupants. Because of the manner in which underride accidents occur, head and neck injuries, as well as upper body injuries are common.
Since the structural design of tractor trailers permits underride accidents to occur, the United States Department of Transportation has issued regulations that are designed to reduce underride risk. Bumpers which meet the current DOT requirements may make some difference in the outcome of an underride crash. However, DOT compliant bumpers are not always effective in preventing underride accidents from happening because the passenger vehicle can push the trailer’s bumper forward with a forceful impact, thus going at least part of the way underneath the trailer. Also, a vehicle which is traveling at a slow to moderate speeds can get stuck underneath the trailer if it collides with the bumper on one side instead of in the center, or if the vehicle collides with the trailer from the side instead of from the rear.
Because the current DOT bumper requirements are not very effective at preventing underride accidents, accident victims, their families, and various other groups have asked the DOT to change its regulations and require larger, stronger bumpers that would be less likely to bend during a crash. Some tractor trailer manufacturers already make their trucks with bumpers which provide greater protection than bumpers that meet the current DOT regulations. Some manufacturers even make trucks with underride guards on the sides of the trailers. Crash test data suggests that these better-then-required bumpers are much more effective at preventing underride accidents. Unfortunately, there are far fewer trucks with improved bumpers on the road than there are trucks with bumpers that just meet the current DOT regulations and trucks with bumpers that do not even meet the DOT requirements.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Representing Mississippi Plaintiffs in Trucking Accident Lawsuits
Underride accidents often result in serious injury or death. If you or someone that you love was hurt or killed in an underride accident, an experienced Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney can help you pursue recovery for your injury or loss. If you need help with an underride accident case, the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. are here to help you. Please call our office today, at (601) 355-2022, to learn more.