What Are Underride Truck Accidents?

Underride truck accidents remain a pressing concern on our roads, presenting grave risks to motorists nationwide. These collisions occur when a smaller vehicle becomes trapped beneath the trailer of a large truck, often leading to catastrophic outcomes.

Underride truck accidents account for approximately 200 fatalities each year in the United States. Studies show that rear underride guards reduce fatalities by 90 percent, yet side underride crashes remain a significant concern, highlighting the need for comprehensive safety measures.

What Is an Underride Truck Accident?

An underride truck accident happens when a smaller vehicle, like a compact car or motorcycle, slides underneath the trailer of a large truck during a collision. The disparity in size between the vehicles can result in the smaller one becoming wedged beneath the truck, potentially causing severe harm to its occupants.

What Are the Primary Causes of Underride Truck Accidents?

Several factors contribute to the occurrence of underride truck accidents:

  • Distracted Driving: Truck drivers who engage in distractions while behind the wheel, like texting or adjusting devices, are less likely to notice smaller vehicles in their vicinity, which heightens the risk of a collision.
  • Driver Error: Mistakes like improper signaling, sudden lane changes, or abrupt braking maneuvers by truck drivers may lead to collisions with smaller vehicles.
  • Equipment Failures: Defective or poorly maintained components on trucks can impair the visibility of the vehicle and increase the likelihood of an underride collision. Examples include malfunctioning brake systems, rear lights, or insufficient reflective tape.
  • Visibility Challenges: Inadequate lighting or reflective markings on the truck’s trailer can diminish its visibility to other motorists, especially during nighttime or poor weather conditions.

What Are the Consequences of Underride Truck Accidents?

Underride truck accidents often result in devastating injuries and fatalities for the occupants of smaller vehicles involved. These injuries may include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, internal organ trauma, and limb amputations, among others. In the most tragic cases, the force of impact can lead to immediate fatalities for those involved, leaving families shattered and communities grieving.

Are There Regulations in Place to Prevent Underride Truck Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented regulations mandating the installation of rear underride guards on truck trailers to reduce the risk of smaller vehicles sliding underneath them during collisions. However, these regulations do not include the installation of side underride guards. That leaves motorists vulnerable to side-impact collisions with trucks.

What Legal Remedies Are Available for Those Impacted by Underride Truck Accidents?

Individuals affected by underride truck accidents may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries and losses through a personal injury lawsuit. By filing a claim against the negligent truck driver or trucking company responsible for the accident, individuals can seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs.

In addition to civil litigation, individuals might also seek justice through criminal proceedings if the truck driver’s actions constitute a criminal offense, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence of substances.

Let the Skilled Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight to Protect Your Rights

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an underride truck accident, the experienced Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton offer free consultations. Submit our online form or call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529).

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.