One of the greatest dangers in a Fort Myers trucking accident is the risk of a smaller vehicle ending up underneath a large commercial trailer. So serious was this problem that in 1998, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a requirement that vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more and manufactured after 1998 must be equipped with underride guards. These steel features are supposed to prevent other vehicles from ending up underneath a large truck, which is associated with catastrophic injuries.
The underride guard requirement only pertains to certain trucks and even then, only to the rear. The issue still affects a significant number of cases. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that all the advances in modern vehicle technology are not effective if a vehicle ends up under a truck. The way most underride guards are designed, a passenger vehicle that rear-ends a semi-truck at an angle can still end up under the truck.
In 2011, of the more than 2,200 passenger vehicle occupant deaths in large truck accidents nationally, 260 died when the front of their vehicle struck the rear of a truck. It’s not clear exactly how many of those instances involved underride, but a 2011 study by IIHS found that of 115 fatal truck crashes, about half indicated severe or catastrophic underride damage. Continue reading →