You may see large trucks on the road anywhere in Connecticut, and for the most part, these commercial vehicles are probably safe and well-maintained. However, even when trucking companies do the minimum to meet the federal safety standards, their vehicles may not actually be safe. At Moore, O’Brien & Foti, we have often represented clients in cases involving trucking companies that failed to put safety above profit.
Trucks.com notes that the high ground clearance of a tractor-trailer is enough to allow a midsize sedan to slide underneath in an accident, although the action typically shears off the top of the vehicle. When this happens, there are often fatalities. In the 1990s, federal laws began requiring guards on the back of trailers that can catch a car at a point of impact that activates its crumple zones and air bags, saving lives.
Safety experts and legislators are trying to mandate upgrades to those rear guards and the installation of side guards, now, to prevent even more underride deaths. Crash tests indicate that side underride guards are effective. One manufacturer has created side guards that withstand crash impacts of 35 mph. When the dummies in those crash tests were analyzed, the outcomes indicated that the likelihood of injuries would be low for a person who was in a similar crash in real life.
With results like these, you may wonder why trucking companies are not already installing the guards, and why legislators are getting involved. Some manufacturers and companies are making these safety changes, but some claim that the weight of the guards will compromise the stability and structure of the trailers, which could lead to catastrophic failure on the roadways. There is also concern that the weight of the guard would limit the amount of freight the trucks can carry, leading to lower profits.
For more information about trucking accidents, please visit our webpage.