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NHTSA seeks comment on underride accident prevention

Some people are killed or seriously injured when their vehicles go underneath big trucks on West Virginia roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering how to make commercial trucks safer so that cars do not skid underneath them during accidents.

Commercial trucks are required to have underride guards installed on the backs of their trucks. They are not required to have the guards installed on the sides of the trucks, however. There are also no regulations that govern the quality of the rear guards, and some do not provide much protection. The NHTSA has invited the public and safety experts to comment about what safety standards the agency might need to put into place.

Truck owners, government representatives and safety professionals met for a day-long conference at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in May to address fatal underride accident risks. The owners of trucks expressed concerns about the cost of adding guards to their trucks as well as whether the guards would force them to carry lighter loads. The NHTSA estimated that the upgrades to the guards would cost around $2,000, but one company said that it could complete the upgrades for as little as $20.

Underride accidents are often deadly because the passenger compartment gets smashed, caving in on the occupants of the vehicle. People who are killed in accidents may leave behind families who struggle with combinations of grief and substantial financial losses. The families of fatal underride accident victims might want to consult with personal injury lawyers. If an accident resulted from the negligence of a truck driver, a family may have grounds to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the driver and his or her employer. This may help the family to recover damages so that they can be compensated for their losses.

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