Underride truck crashes occur when a passenger car gets pinned underneath the trailer of a large commercial truck.
Truck crashes generally result in catastrophe and fatal injuries. Underride truck crashes are rarely survivable, however. Once a car gets crushed underneath a trailer, the driver and front-seat passenger will likely be decapitated. Any car occupants who manage to survive are often left with debilitating, life-long injuries.
How do underride truck crashes happen?
When a truck driver suddenly stops or pulls out into traffic, drivers often have little time to react. According to Crash Forensics, side underride crashes usually happen when a truck driver:
- Makes a U-turn on a major road or highway
- Attempts to cross a major roadway
- Backs up into a major roadway
Rear-underride crashes may occur when traffic on a high-speed roadway suddenly comes to a stop. This is common when a crash occurs or traffic is slowed down by roadside construction.
Which environmental factors come into play?
Certain environmental factors may contribute to underride truck crashes. Among these is poor visbility.
According to Crash Forensics, the majority of side underride crashes happen at night. Trucks that aren't equipped with reflective tape are generally harder to see in the dark. An animated video simulation of a nighttime underride crash shows how this can happen on a high-speed roadway.
The video depicts a slow moving truck making a left-hand turn. From a distance, it appears that the truck is driving straight in the opposite lane. The trailer doesn't become visible until it's too late.
Other visibility factors may include heavy rain and fog.
Slippery roads caused by snow, ice, and rain may also contribute to underride crashes. This is especially true on high-speed roads or on declines, where stopping in time to avoid a crash may be very difficult.
Are truck drivers and trucking companies responsible for preventing underride truck accidents?
It's the responsibility of all truck drivers and fleet owners to ensure that their vehicles can be safely operated in all conditions. All trucks must be equipped with reflective tape or other devices. These make them visible at night and during foggy conditions.
Truck fleet owners should also install underside guards on all vehicles. While it's not yet required by law, lawmakers have already introduced the STOP Underrides Bill more than a year ago.
Lawmakers have been dragging their feet over the last few years, however. Safety advocates have been urging lawmakers to act following a fatal rear underride crash on Interstate 70 in Indiana.
Truck drivers also have a responsability to pay attention to other drivers around them. That includes only crossing major roadways or making left turns when it is safe to do so.
How can I take legal action?
If you sustained injuries, or lost a loved one, in an underride truck crash, the Indiana attorneys at Boughter Sinak, LLC urge you to take legal action.
Truck crashes are highly complex and require thorough investigation. Furthermore, trucking companies and their insurers are extremely difficult to deal with. They often go to great lengths to deny any wrongdoing on their part and will stop at nothing to downplay your claim.
That's why you should never go it alone. Let our attorneys do the work for you. Contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.