IIHS tests show the benefits of underride guards | The Martin Law Firm
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IIHS tests show the benefits of underride guards

Although there has been a debate as to whether side underride guards on a truck would really save lives in the case of an accident, studies performed by the International Institute of Highway Safety show the benefits this type of safety equipment may have. In one test, vehicles going 35 mph collided with trucks that were equipped with either AngelWing sideguards or fiberglass sideguards. Vehicles that hit the truck with the AngelWing sideguard, they did not go underneath the truck. Vehicles that struck the truck with the fiberglass underguard, however, continued to slide underneath the trailer and the accident often sheared off the roof of the vehicle.

Without the sideguard, 28 percent of a 53-foot trailer’s side would be protected from a collision, while a sideguard brings the protection up to 62 percent. Guards protecting the rear of tractor trailers have been mandated by the federal government for years. A famous actress lost her life when her vehicle hit the rear-end of a tractor trailer and she was beheaded as a result. Yet, there is no legislation regarding the use of side guards on these massive vehicles, despite the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that the guard would save lives.

According to government statistics, at least 200 people lose their lives in collisions involving cars sliding underneath the side of a tractor trailer every year in the United States. There are opponents who object to the use of sideguards in tractor trailers. The Tractor Trailer Manufacturers Association states that the guards could add a significant amount of weight to the trucks and are not cost effective. 

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