On Dec. 12, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would require all tractor-trailer trucks to have side and front crash guards. Safety experts say that the proposed legislation would make roads safer in Kentucky and across the country.
Federal statistics show that over 200 Americans are killed in side underride collisions with trucks each year. In this type of accident, a passenger vehicle slides beneath the side of a truck’s trailer. When this occurs, the top of the passenger vehicle can be ripped off, killing the people inside. The National Transportation Safety Board says that side guards would prevent many underride accidents, but the trucking industry has resisted calls to install the safety devices.
To address the issue, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Stop Underrides Act of 2017. If the bill passes, it will make side guards mandatory on all trucks. Safety advocates claim that the legislation is necessary because the trucking industry refuses to voluntarily install the safety devices. Meanwhile, those who oppose the bill claim that side guards are too costly and could add too much weight to trucks. Rear guards have been required on tractor-trailers since 1998.