Semi Tractor-Trailer Fatalities Are Reduced With Strong Side Under-Ride Bumpers

Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys

The Death of a Beloved Actress – Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers

big powerful truck with side underride bumpers moves on highway

On June 29, 1967, poor visibility caused a 1966 Buick Electra to slide underneath the rear of a tractor-trailer on a highway east of New Orleans. The occupants, film star Jayne Mansfield, her driver and attorney were fatally injured when the top of the car was sheared off. Fortunately, her three children were asleep on the back seat of the car; they were injured but survived the deadly crash. Mansfield’s death prompted calls for both rear and side under-ride guards (metal bumpers) on semi tractor-trailers but it wasn’t until 1998, thirty-one years later, that rear guards were mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thereby reducing the number of automobile slide-unders in America.

Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Support  Awards for Manufacturers With Strong Under-Ride Guards

Since their inception, some rear under-ride guards have proven more effective than others. In the spring of 2017, semi tractor-trailer manufacturers with strong rear under-ride guards were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) TOUGHGUARD Award. The five North American semi-trailer manufacturers earning the award were Great Dane LLC, Manac Inc., Stoughton Trailers LLC, Vanguard National Trailer Corp. and Wabash National Corporation.

The Loss of Life – Trucks Without Side Under-Ride Guards

Indiana truck accident attorneys understand the mortal devastation and grief experienced by the families of victims killed in semi-truck side slide-under accidents.  In 2015, statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 1,542 people died as a result of their cars crashing into tractor-trailers. Two hundred and ninety-two passengers died when their vehicles struck the rear of semi tractor-trailers and 301 died as a result of striking the side of tractor trailers. In most cases, the passenger vehicles are sheared off and the victims, decapitated. In 2012, an IIHS study found that improved, stronger side guards could reduce the risk of injury involving semi-trailers by approximately 90%; the National Traffic Safety Board said injuries and deaths “could” be reduced by implementing side guards.

After a gruesome slide-under in New York, involving a jackknifed milk tanker and the death of four people in two passenger cars, Senator Chuck Schumer called for closing the truck safety gap by federally mandating the implementation of side under-ride guards on all semi tractor-trailers. Currently, several cities in the United States have implemented side guards on their city vehicles, including New York, Boston and Seattle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the power to issue national transportation regulations. But to date, calls for a federal mandate standardizing side guards on tractor-trailers and heavy trucks has gone unheeded as seen through the lens of a trucking accident lawyer.

The Quest for a Federal Mandate – Side Under-Ride Guards on Commercial Trucks

Lois Durso lost her 26-year-old daughter, Roya Sadigh, in an Indiana snow storm in 2005 when Roya’s vehicle slid under the side of an unguarded trailer and was run over by the semi’s rear tires. When she learned side-guards are standard equipment on tractor-trailers in parts of Europe, she became very angry with trucking manufacturers and the federal government, stating “They’re fully aware people are dying as a result of their trailer design. And yet they do nothing about it.” Later it was learned that the side guards used on semis throughout Europe are there to protect pedestrians and cyclers. In a statement to congress and trucking industry leadership, Durso states, “You’ve had 30 years to figure it out, and 30 years of doing nothing.”

Marianne Karth, the mother of two teenage daughters killed in an under-ride crash and herself, a survivor of that same under-ride incident, petitioned NHTSA and lobbies for senate support, requesting side under-ride guards become standard safety equipment. Although her Petition is closed now, she and many others continue calling for a mandate from congress or NHTSA making side under-ride guards standard safety equipment on commercial tractor-trailers.

The Experienced Team of Indianapolis Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys

The truck accident team of attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm has more than nine decades of combined experience handling claims against commercial truck drivers, truck and trailer manufacturers and logistical companies. Since commercial motor vehicles and tractor-trailers are licensed and or regulated by intrastate and interstate federal commerce agencies, we strongly recommend you hire an experienced personal injury and wrongful death firm with the know-how to successfully manage your claim from beginning to end and get you and your loved ones the maximum compensation.

Trucking accidents are complex claims, often with multiple defendants. We don’t stop inquiring until we are confident that all parties responsible for your damages have been named.

Our attorneys and their assistants are sensitive to your loss and committed to managing your case while you take the time and energy  to successfully move through the healing process after an accident with a commercial tractor-trailer.

If you or someone you know has been critically or fatally injured in a commercial trucking accident, call the legal team of Ward & Ward Law Firm at (888) 639-9501 for a free, no-obligation, consultation. Ask for injury and wrongful death attorney, Charlie Ward,   We look forward to helping you.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501 or  toll free at 1 (888) 639-9501
Published 1-26-18

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