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Why underride safety remains a critical issue

Perhaps you have never driven while drunk. You take great care to never get behind the wheel while you are drowsy and you never use your cellphone while you are driving. You even refuse to drive when you are upset or otherwise mentally distracted. Even if you are the kind of motorist that everyone should model themselves after, you may one day find yourself barreling towards the rear of a large commercial truck without enough time to safely avoid impact. Due to brake failure, icy roads or some other factor, you cannot stop the accident that is about to occur.

Terrifyingly, too many Americans find themselves in this very scenario on an annual basis. And unfortunately, frontal crashes with the rears of large trucks are among the most destructive kinds of common accidents that occur on U.S. roads on a daily basis. Steps have been taken in recent years to minimize the devastating consequences of these kinds of truck accidents. However, reforms are still necessary to ensure that as many accident victims as possible are able to eventually walk away from such crashes.

One of the most important safety innovations to be embraced in recent years with regards to these kinds of crashes is underride guards. These safety mechanisms help to ensure that motor vehicles which crash into the rear of large trucks are stopped before they become utterly crushed beneath the body of these large vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is currently testing more effective underride guards. And it can be safely argued that safety-related innovations tied to these guards cannot be released soon enough.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "On guard: Safety gear on the back of truck trailers is improving," Oct. 9, 2014

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