Some of the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts and nationwide occur when a standard automobile collides with the side of a semi-truck. In what are known as an under-ride accidents, the automobile is forced underneath the side of the semi-truck, shearing off the roof, smashing the windshield in and often causing a fatality. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, under-ride crashes constitute about 50 percent of all deadly accidents that occur between automobiles and semi-trucks. In fact, in 2015, 750 fatalities occurred in such crashes.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that if a semi-truck is equipped with strong side guards, it could prevent fatalities in such accidents. In tests performed with side guards, automobiles travelling at 35 miles an hour that struck the side guards were not forced underneath the semi-truck.

In fact, a study performed in 2012 determined that if all semi-trucks had side guards, the possibility of injuries in side crashes between automobiles and semi-trucks could go down nearly 90 percent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling for such side guards to be mandatory.

It remains to be seen if side guards will one day be required on all semi-trucks on the road. Doing so could save many lives, but as of now such guards are not mandatory. This means that, should a driver of an automobile be forced into the side of a semi-truck in a truck accident, it could be a serious — if not deadly — situation. Those who have had loved ones killed in such accidents may want to speak to an attorney, to determine what steps to take moving forward.

Source: money.cnn.com, “Preventing deaths when cars hit tractor trailers,” Peter Valdes-Dapena, May 10, 2017