Many people are at risk of sustaining fatal road injuries when there are commercial trucks on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has determined that side crashes involving heavy trucks caused a significant number of fatalities. A study of the federal government revealed that the use of side guards might reduce deaths, but some states and truck companies were hesitant to implement it.
Crashes involving commercial trucks are often serious
A trucking accident injury lawyer in Denver said commercial truck crashes could drastically change the lives of the parties involved. This is particularly true for aggravated parties where victims often suffer serious or fatal injuries, just like a recent incident in Colorado Springs.
A compact vehicle containing four persons reportedly struck on the side of a semi-truck. The woman and her three children sustained injuries after their vehicle got trapped beneath the truck that was making a U-turn on the northbound lane of South Union Blvd.
A photo of the crash scene showed that the vehicle went under the semi-truck that doesn’t have side crash guards. In some states, commercial trucks are required to have side crash guards to reduce the impact of such crashes.
Truck drivers on the road, at some point, may fail to notice other people on bikes or even compact vehicles that can slide underneath the truck during a crash.
Side crash guards may reduce serious injuries
The concept of side crash guards in trucks is easy to understand. They simply prevent small vehicles or pedestrians from getting into the open space between the front and rear portion of a truck.
Through previous studies in other countries, the U.S. DOT found out that side guards are effective in reducing deadly crashes involving commercial trucks. In the United Kingdom, for example, the number of cyclists and pedestrian fatalities significantly dropped after trucks were required to have side crash guards. The use of side guards is not exactly new. Trucks in other countries like Japan, China, and the European Union have been using these safety measures for decades.
Some states in North America are already requiring trucks with high ground clearance to use guard rails to cover the space between the wheels. Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2014 has recommended the use of crash guards or side underride protection systems. Many truck companies, however, argue that crash guards only add up to the total weight of a truck, reducing its efficiency.
Trucking companies should consider side crash guards
The U.S. DOT, on the other hand, said trucks are aerodynamically more efficient when using side guards. Underbody fairings reduce air drag in large trucks and therefore improve fuel economy by approximately four to seven percent. These could help truck companies save up to $5,000 worth of fuel costs every year.
People are at high risk of sustaining fatal injuries on the road in the presence of semi-trucks as they can go underneath the truck unnoticed. Side guards are also beneficial for trucking companies as these can reduce fuel cost. Mandatory use of such safety devices across the US offers nothing but advantages.