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Safety group suggests side underride guards for trucks

West Virginia motorists might be safer if large trucks have both rear and side underride guards according to crash tests done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the spring of 2017. In two crash tests, the IIHS had a passenger car collide with a 53-foot dry van trailer in the center. In the first test, the trailer had a side underride guard. In the second test, it had a fiberglass side skirt. The intended function of this skirt was improved aerodynamics and not to protect against an underride.

In the first test, the side underride guard was damaged, but the car did not go under the trailer. In the second test, the top of the car was partly cut off and the car became stuck under the larger vehicle. Had there been people in the car, the accident probably would have been fatal.

According to the IIHS, side underride guards could be lifesaving. Regulations regarding back underride guards are still in process, and the institute recommended a mandate for side guards as well.

Truck accidents may happen because of truck driver fatigue, speeding, distraction or impairment, among other reasons. The size and construction of trucks means that these accidents may be particularly severe for passengers in smaller cars or pedestrians. They could suffer serious injuries and be unable to return to their previous job. However, they might be offered too little by the insurance company to compensate for these costs. If the accident is the fault of the truck driver, both the driver and the company might be held financially responsible in a personal injury lawsuit filed with the help of a lawyer.

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