A 2017 study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the safety benefits provided by the installation of side underride guards on semi trucks are similar to those provided by the installation of rear-mounted guards. Lawmakers have announced they intend to introduce a bill to require tractor-trailers to be equipped with side underride guards in an effort to improve roadway safety in Kentucky and across the country.
American Trucking Association has stated that side guards may improve safety, but it was not certain that a legislative mandate was required. According to the ATA, the installation of side guards may cause trailers to deteriorate more quickly, perhaps creating safety risks due to potential failure of a trailer on the road. The ATA said active safety systems, which prevent motor vehicle accidents from occurring, may make more sense than passive systems like side underride guards.
Research by the IIHS indicates that side underride guards may reduce injury risk in side-trailer accidents by approximately 75 percent. In its report, IIHS claimed that side-trailer crashes resulted in 301 fatalities during the period studied.
Rear-underride guards are already required for trailers on American roadways, but the lawmakers said the standards for these guards are outdated. The proposed legislation would increase the rear-impact guard requirements in addition to requiring side guards.
Underride accidents are among the most severe, potentially, as they have a higher likelihood of resulting in the death of the driver or passengers in the motor vehicle. Individuals who have been injured in truck accidents that have been caused by the negligence of the truck driver or trucking company may want to have the assistance of experienced counsel when seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and other damages.