The trucking industry must adopt new standards for side underrides, according to the families of victims needlessly killed in preventable truck crashes.
In a town hall-style meeting held Friday, U.S. Senator Kirstin Gillbrand (D-NY), who introduced underride legislation in 2017, said she understands that side underride guards can keep motorists alive.
“We know that adding side underride guards to tractor-trailers and straight trucks is truly a matter of life and death.”
The meeting, which included families of underride victims, engineers, safety advocates, and representatives from trailer manufacturers, focused on ways the industry can make tractor trailers safer. The goal: prevent cars from ending up under tractor trailers which often lead to catastrophic injuries or death.
Safety advocates are calling on the trucking industry to implement side underride standards. A meeting was held on February 26th. U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand shared opening remarks.
Lois Durso’s daughter and Marianne Karth’s two daughters were killed in underride truck crashes. They founded Stop Underrides and AnnaLeah and Mary for Truck Safety advocacy groups, which took part in Friday’s meeting.
The advocacy groups released the following joint statement: “We are thankful for the legislators who have already stepped up to the plate to cosponsor this bill that will end a decades-old public health and traffic safety problem. Thousands of lives have been lost as a result of truck underride. Countless more will die unless the motoring public is protected from this kind of crash. It is the duty of the government to protect its citizens. If Congress is unwilling to protect their constituents from death by underride, who will?”
Among the proposals, families urged the trucking trailer manufacturers to adopt the “Consensus Side Guard Standard,” a requirement that any side guard is able to provide “vehicle crash compatibility with a midsize car, to prevent intrusion into the occupant survival space, when it is struck at any location, any angle, and at any speed up to and including 40 mph.”
“I’ve seen first-hand the dramatic difference an underride requirement will bring.” says Andy Young, a partner at The Law Firm For Truck Safety which participated in the meeting. Young said that “truck underride causes closed-casket fatalities and the worst of the worst catastrophic injuries resulting in eight-figure verdicts.”
Andy Young sits on the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) which advises the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA.)
With the adoption of this proposal, motorists stay alive, families stay together, and the need for wrongful death lawsuits is reduced. Everyone wins.
“We strongly urge the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association to adopt the proposed Consensus Side Guard standard and to improve on it,” said Karth. “Too many lives are lost to simply ignore it.”
“We need underride legislation now,” added Durso. “Or people will continue to die.”