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Bill sponsored by senators aims to reduce fatal truck crashes

A collision between a car and a tractor-trailer can be devastating in any circumstance. Many of the worst injuries come when a car slides under a tractor-trailer. While modern automobiles have many safety features, underride crashes can render many of these features completely worthless.

According to federal statistics on truck accidents, underride crashes are responsible for over 200 deaths per year. To combat this, a bipartisan group of Congress members has authored a bill to require additional guard rails on the sides and front of all tractor-trailers. These guards are designed to prevent cars from sliding underneath a trailer during a collision.

While the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, has long recommended these guard rails on trucks, but they have only been required on the rear of tractor-trailers since 1998. That is despite NTSB findings that these guard rails on the front and sides would reduce injury and death related to underride crashes.

The lobbying arm for the tractor-trailer manufacturing industry, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, has long opposed such measures. It is their belief that on top of the additional cost, current technology does not allow for tractor-trailers to safely add additional guards. In its response to the NTSB recommendation, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association argue that side railings could weaken the structure of tractor-trailers and make them too heavy for the road.

Injuries suffered in a truck collision can be devastating. Individuals who aren't at fault in the accident may have a claim for damages against the truck driver, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or their insurance company. In cases where negotiation breaks down, an attorney might file a lawsuit for damages and seek recovery for that individual through the court system.

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