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Legislation again addresses preventing underride collisions

The trucking industry is not keen on proposed federal legislation that may help prevent horrible underride collisions. Why? Because it claims the planned regulations would be ineffective and costly. Under the guidelines in the Stop Underrides Act recently introduced on Capitol Hill, newly made tractor-trailers must have safety underride guards installed on their front and sides.

Each year, underride accidents claim the lives of hundreds of people on U.S. roads. An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle such as a car, SUV or pickup skids or slides under the rear or side of the colossal large trucks. The tops of those vehicles often are sheered or crushed, inevitably causing catastrophic or fatal injuries. Anything that promotes safety on the road is a good thing.

Many die each year in these terrible wrecks

In March, the U.S. Senate reintroduced this trucking safety bill, marking the third time such legislation was proposed. In this bipartisan effort, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) served as co-sponsors. The legislation also proposes new requirements for improving safety requirements for a large truck’s rear-guards, currently required by law.

The latest version of this legislation includes concessions that allowed the bill to get this far. And the major concession, according to safety advocates, is that only newly made large trucks must have the iron-barred guards installed. This does not include the millions of trucks currently on U.S. roads.

Hundreds of people die annually in underride collisions in the U.S. It is difficult to determine an accurate number, though. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an average of 219 people died in underride collisions from 2008 to 2017. The GAO hinted that due to differences in data collection among cities and states, underride collisions remain underreported.

Safety is critical on U.S. roads for any motorist. And among the worst hazards drivers face is an underride collision. If passed, this legislation just may save lives.

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