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Bill requiring underride guards for trucks in Congress

Pennsylvania drivers may be interested in learning that a measure that would require all trucks to have guardrails installed on their trailers went through Congress. Called the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, the measure would make underride guards, which are optional safety measures, legally required.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says an estimated 1,475 people were killed after their passenger vehicles were involved in accidents with semitrucks in 2016. Of these causalities, 295 died after their passenger vehicle collided with the side of the trailer while another 238 died when they hit the rear of the trailer. Even though the IIHS data does not show whether the fatal accidents involved a passenger vehicle sliding under the sides of the trucks, a spokesperson did say that underride crashes were completely preventable and did not need to happen.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a regulatory proposal in 2015 that would require carriers to upgrade the rear-impact guards on their trucks. However, little movement has been made with this proposal. If the bill does pass, rear and side underride guards would need to be built and tested to prevent a vehicle from sliding under a trailer when traveling up to 35 miles an hour.

Trucks that are being driven at high speeds can be incredibly dangerous for those who are in passenger cars. Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks are often not able to slow down as fast as other vehicles can, making it easy for them to cause rear-end accidents. Further, truck drivers are often operating their vehicles when fatigued or distracted, putting those around them at risk for becoming involved in an accident that could result in a serious injury. If a person suffers an injury in a truck accident, a personal injury attorney may assist him or her with seeking compensation by filing a claim against the truck driver and the carrier.

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