Any accident involving a passenger vehicle and a semi truck is serious. The size and weight difference between the two types of vehicles often causes serious damage and physical injuries. Deaths in such accidents are not uncommon. Because passenger vehicles and large trucks must share Louisiana roadways, it is important for everyone that the government takes steps to introduce safety features that help to prevent more serious accident situations.
One such situation is an underride accident, which according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office is when a smaller vehicle goes underneath a larger vehicle. While this type of situation is not common, it does have a high potential for fatalities. In an underride accident, the passenger vehicles often go under the rear or side of the truck. The truck crushes the vehicle as this occurs, leading to the top shearing off or the engine compartment compacting into the cabin of the vehicle.
Regulations and prevention
Since these accidents are serious and severe, there is work to help prevent them, if possible, using guards. Currently, the government requires semi trucks to have rear guards to stop underride accidents during rear-end collisions. However, there is no inspection requirement, which is a concern because a damaged guard may not hold up in a collision and do its intended job.
There is no requirement for front or side guards. The trucking industry is against the addition of front guards because it says the bumper already serves this purpose. As for side guards, the industry is also not on board due to the amount of weight the guards would add to the trucks. The more a truck weighs, the less it can carry, which would have a negative impact on the industry.
The government is still researching the need and effectiveness of front and side guards. It currently suggests using side guards, but it is not a requirement. Front guards are still in the early stages of consideration.