If there was a way to make big trucks safer, a way to save lives during an accident, wouldn’t you expect trucking companies to jump at the chance? It seems like common sense but making changes to the trucking industry is never simple. The Truck Safety Coalition along with surviving families of truck accident victims are meeting with members of Congress in an attempt to draft legislation that could certainly save lives, but it won’t be easy.
They believe that the underride guards, or the metal bumpers found on the back of most big trucks, should be strengthened. The guards are there to keep cars from sliding under the rig in the event of an accident, but the Truck Safety Coalition is claiming that the guards fail even at low speeds. They also believe big trucks should be required to have these underride guards on the sides of their trailers as well.
According to them, hundreds of people lose their lives each year because of a lack of side guards or rear guards that fail. That’s hundreds of deaths that might have been prevented if these guards were in place. So if the trucking companies know that installing these guards could save lives, they would do it right?
Well, the American Trucking Association is taking the stance that most accidents are the fault of the drivers in passenger cars and that educating motorists on how to better drive around commercial trucks is the best way to prevent these horrific deaths. They’ve stated, “We believe the best way to reduce these crashes is through continuing education about how to safely share the road with large trucks and by more vigilant enforcement of traffic laws on our highways.” They continued “… “we believe the best underride guard is the one that’s never put to the test on the highways.”
A statement by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety may have summed up the American Trucking Association’s response best. “Almost all crashes involve a driver making a mistake, but their mistake shouldn’t be a death sentence.”
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Source. TheIndyChannel.com, ‘http://www.theindychannel.com/news/call-6-investigators/truck-safety-coalition-tackles-underride-issue-on-capitol-hill,’ Kara Kenney, May 09, 2013.