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New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

Could fatal truck accidents be prevented? Side guards may be the answer

A crash with a tractor-trailer is terrifying. While the risk of crashing into the side of tractor-trailer may be less likely to happen than rear-ending a truck, the consequences are often more severe. Severe injuries and death are common when cars, in a side collision, end up underneath a tractor-trailer. These crashes may result in the top of the car being cut off, significantly reducing the chance of survival for the victims.

More than 200 people die in this type of accident every year in the United States, according to government statistics. These accidents are almost always fatal - but do they have to be? Experts say these crashes are preventable if tractor-trailers were required to install side guards to keep cars from going underneath their trailers.

How safety regulations could prevent serious and fatal truck accidents

Tractors-trailers are required to have safety guards on the back of their trucks. However, the federal agency does not currently require side guards despite the safety benefits they would provide. The National Transportation Safety Board says side guards would reduce serious injuries and fatalities in accidents involving semi-trucks.

The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association opposes installing side guards and any requirement to do so from the government. They oppose side guards due to the added cost, technical challenges, and the increased weight it would add to the trailers.

Safety advocates say the trucking industry continues to lobby Congress, which is why lawmakers have failed to take action on this serious safety concern. Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee say that is not the case. Instead, they say it is up to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a regulation that would require tractor-trailers to install side guards.

Regardless of which group can take action to address this safety issue, all motorists are currently at risk for being seriously injured or killed if they are in an accident with a tractor-trailer. What can you do to stay safe? Focus on the road, drive defensively and be cautious when driving near large trucks.

Your life will forever change after an accident with a commercial truck. If you or a loved one is a victim of a trucking accident, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options and to protect your future.

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