Lawmakers propose bill to keep drivers safer in truck crashes

Collisions with a commercial-sized truck are some of the most catastrophic accidents on roads across Albuquerque. In many cases, victims suffer life-changing injuries; in other cases, victims do not survive the accident.

The difference between being killed in a truck accident and surviving one could come down to a single part: side guards. Unfortunately, these parts are not mandatory on trucks, and many trucks do not have them. However, that could change in the future if a bill to make side guards mandatory becomes a law. 

From recommendation to legislation

Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board has a recommendation in place that trucks have side guards. However, this recommendation is largely dismissed. As such, more than 200 people are killed in accidents where cars crash into trucks and slide underneath the truck every year.

The proposed measure, the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, would make it mandatory for trucks to have guards along the sides of the trucks to stop cars from sliding underneath in a crash. By stopping this, the hope is that more people would survive truck crashes.

Why the trucking industry is pushing back

While it sounds reasonable to put guards on a truck to keep motorists safer, the trucking industry has yet to voluntarily adopt the side protection system. According to reports like this one from NBC News, trucking companies argue that adding side guards is expensive and a technical challenge; they would also increase the vehicle's weight and could make parts of the truck weaker.

A difficult road ahead

Trucking companies are not likely to voluntarily implement side guard recommendations unless and until legislation requires them to do so. As such, motorists will continue to be in danger of suffering fatal injuries as a result of what one lawmaker calls a "massive safety design flaw."

If you lose a loved one in this type of accident, it can be critical to examine your legal options with an attorney. While legal remedies cannot undo the pain and devastation of this type of loss, they can be essential in the recovery process ahead.

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