Young & McCarthy LLP

Proposed bill aims to reduce deadly truck crashes

Many people in Ohio fear motor vehicle accidents involving trucks, and they have good reason. Truck crashes are far more likely to be fatal to the occupants of smaller passenger cars. Safety advocates are seeking to reduce the number of fatalities caused by these crashes by urging passage of legislation to tighten regulations for trucks and require additional safety gear to be installed. The Stop Underrides Act of 2017 focuses on the risk of underride crashes when cars or other small vehicles slide underneath a large commercial truck. These crashes are often fatal and can lead to severe head and neck injuries or even decapitations.

Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives in underride truck crashes. Underride guards are required for the rear ends of semitrailers, especially after 260 people were killed in rear underride crashes in 2011. However, many people say that the current guidelines fail to provide enough protection for others on the road.

Members of Congress from both major parties introduced the proposed legislation in 2017, but it has seen little movement. It has remained in the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for over a year. If passed, the bill would require front and side underride guards and revise the standards for rear guards. In addition, it would make the presence of these guards mandatory for trucks to pass their annual federal inspections, and it would mandate the Department of Transportation review these standards every five years.

Truck accidents can be particularly dangerous, leading to catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. In many cases, they are caused by dangerous or negligent truck drivers. Individuals who have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else can work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

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