Side Underride Crashes Most Often Fatal, but Side Guards Save Lives



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Brooks Schuelke, Esq.
Schuelke Law PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 7, 2017 – Rear underride and side underride crashes are usually catastrophic, often ending in the death of the vehicle driver. Deaths may also include front seat passengers.

If anyone survives such a disastrous accident they often face traumatic brain injuries, open skull fractures and severe spinal cord damage. Installing rear underride guards on most commercial trucks reduced deaths on the highway. Now, side underride crashes are on the rise resulting in an increase in deaths.

In a side underride accident, a vehicle crashes into the side of a truck and is trapped under it. In collisions like this, airbags and seatbelts do not help because the first point of contact is the vehicle’s windshield and the driver and passenger’s heads. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) underride collisions are responsible for the deaths of approximately 200 people every year. Rear underride guards are required on trucks, but they are not mandatory on the side of trucks.

Some in the trucking industry stand in opposition the use of side guards saying that they are not cost-effective and weigh a truck down. On the other hand, numerous trucking companies are installing side guards against the opinion of the trucking industry.

According to the former head of the NHTSA, even though side guards save lives, money from lobbyists plays a significant role in policy making. The transport industry gave over $9 million in campaign contributions to U.S. Senate Transportation members. For further information on campaign contributions to U.S. Senate Transportation members visit

Rear underride and side underride accidents are often catastrophic. “Add to that, the complexity of 18-wheeler accidents usually involve several insurance companies and multiple attorneys, not to mention the question of who owns the truck, who owns the cargo, what jurisdiction applies, what condition was the truck in, and how was the trucker driving,” says Austin wrongful death attorney, Brooks Schuelke. The trucking industry does not want to make changes to their vehicles, and the government seems to not be inclined to make any changes either, despite the fact that side underride guards could save lives.

“If you have been involved in a trucking accident and have sustained serious, catastrophic injuries or have lost a loved one in such a collision, it is best to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence, obtain the truck’s black box, police report and other items of evidence that may otherwise go missing,” added Schuelke.

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