Government Report: DOT Has Not Done Enough to Study, Stop Truck Underride Accidents

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report to Congressional Requesters entitled “Truck Underride Guards Improved Data Collection, Inspections and Research Needed.” The report found that an average of about 219 fatalities from underride crashes involving large trucks were recorded annually from 2008 to 2017. It also stated that such fatalities were likely underreported due to variability in state and local data collection.

The report examined the data the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) reports on underride crashes and the development and use of underride guard technologies in the United States. The GAO recommended that the DOT take steps to:

  • Provide a standardized definition of underride crashes and data fields
  • Share information with police departments on identifying underride crashes
  • Establish annual inspection requirements for rear guards
  • Conduct additional research on side underride guards

While the DOT concurred with the GAO’s recommendations and expressed a willingness to address the public health risk, it did not lay out a timeline of intended actions. The report noted that federal requirements, in regulations issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), exist for the installation of rear guards on most large trucks. However, no such federal requirements exist for side or front guards.

How Do Truck Underride Collisions Happen?

An underride crash can happen when a passenger vehicle collides with a commercial truck or its trailer. In these particular crashes, the passenger vehicle slides underneath the sides or back of the trailer. When this happens, the body of the truck is forced into the passenger area, often at head or neck level. These accidents can be particularly catastrophic, and in some cases, the top of the passenger vehicle could be crushed or sheared off.

The nature of these collisions often results in catastrophic or possibly fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

Types of Underride Collision Injuries

An underride accident often leaves people with severe and debilitating injuries. Some of the most common injuries that occur in underride crashes include, but are not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis

Underride accidents are particularly devastating, and there is a high likelihood that victims will not survive the crash. The family of a person killed in an underride crash could be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party or parties.

Need Legal Advice? Contact an Oklahoma Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in an underride accident in Oklahoma City, seek qualified legal counsel from a team of attorneys who know how to handle these particular cases. The experienced Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys of Cain Law Office will investigate the accident, identify the liable parties, and aggressively seek full and fair compensation for you and your family.

Our dedicated attorneys can help you understand all of your legal options when you call (855) 792-8538 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.