The Dangers Of Underride Accidents In FloridaJacksonville Accident News
When vehicles such as cars, pickup trucks, or SUVs, collide, there are several safety features such as airbags, crumple zones, and bumpers to absorb the majority of the impact and help keep drivers and passengers safe. Commercial trucks, however, don’t have these same features. Accidents with trucks, in general, are scary and stressful situations that nobody plans to be part of. Just the sheer size and sounds of a semi are enough to intimidate anybody on the road. A person would think to steer clear while driving close to one, but accidents involving big rigs still happen every day. One of the several different types of accidents that involve large trucks is what is known as an underride accident.
What Is An Underride Accident?
An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle hits the side or rear end of a semi’s trailer and slides underneath. This is not to be confused with an override accident, where a semi drives over part of a vehicle. A car’s hood can easily slide underneath the backside of a trailer, which means the passenger compartment of that car and its occupants are the first to take the brunt of the force. If an underride accident occurs at higher speeds, the top of the passenger compartment can come off with deadly results. Statistics show that underride accidents kill more than 200 people each year in the United States.
What Kind Of Injuries Can Result From An Underride Accident?
Injuries that are commonly sustained in an underride accident can be serious, even deadly. It’s not a common occurrence that victims of an underride accident will escape with no injuries. If the occupants of a vehicle survive the initial crash, then resulting injuries can include but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Lacerations and Contusions
- Broken Bones
In extreme situations, amputation of limbs or even decapitation can occur as a result of an underride accident. Occupants of a vehicle can be lifted out of the vehicle during the underride and cause an amputation to occur. Unfortunately, the survival rate of an underride accident is not very high.
Safety Devices And Tips For Driving Around Big Rigs
Trailers have a device called a rear underride guard, which is supposed to help prevent underride accidents. The guard is a metal bar that hangs from the back of the trailer. However, even guards that meet federal standards are likely to fail in low-speed crashes. The quality of underride guards are slowly being improved and are also being developed for the sides of trailers to prevent side underride accidents. Also, it is mandatory for all trailers to have reflective tape alternating red and white to make the outline of the trailer more visible to oncoming traffic.
Some of the things to consider when driving around semi-trucks include size, blind spots, and the fact that they’ll need extra space. A truck can weigh anywhere between 35,000 and 80,000 pounds, which can be more than 16 times the weight of a car! So it’s important to know that they need at least 350 feet to come to a complete stop from 60 mph. If a vehicle is driving too close behind a semi when it’s stopping, this could result in an underride accident. Staying out of an 18-wheeler’s blind spot is also an important tip for driving around them. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver of that truck is unable to see you.
How Do Underride Accidents Happen?
There could be several different factors that can lead to an underride accident. Even though the government has established mandatory safety features for trailers, underride accidents are still more common than we would like to admit. Even though truck drivers are not responsible for the maintenance of trailers, it should be their responsibility to inspect and report defective safety equipment. Some of the most common factors that cause underride accidents include:
- Truck Driver Error- While it may not be the truck driver’s fault for the conditions the trailer that they’re hauling is in, they can be held responsible if their actions led directly to the accident. Failure to use reflective triangles or flares when parked on the side of the road can convict a truck driver of negligence.
- Defective Reflective Tape Or Lights- All truck drivers need to ensure that the reflective tape on the sides and back of the trailer is not peeling or dirty before each trip. Taillights on a trailer must be in proper working order along with running lights.
- Outdated Or Improper Guards- Some guards may not hold up to federal standards or at times aren’t installed correctly.
- Lack Of Guards- Some trucking companies fail to install guards on their trailers altogether. Even though it isn’t mandatory for trailers to have side guards, it is still against federal regulations to be missing underride guards on the back of the trailer.
Talking With A Truck Accident Attorney In Florida
Being in an accident of any kind with a semi-truck is always stressful and scary. Serious injuries such as internal injuries, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations caused by a truck accident are added stress that nobody deserves to face alone. At Sheftall Law, our dedicated and compassionate truck accident attorneys understand the stress that comes along with having to miss work in order to recover from a truck accident injury. With decades of combined experience, we have the legal knowledge necessary to take care of your needs and rights in these trying times and we will stand by your side until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident in Florida that wasn’t your fault, please contact a truck accident attorney at Sheftall Law at (904) 569-6025 today or visit sheftallaw.com to explore the legal options that are available to you.