Detroit Tractor-Trailer Collisions - Serious Risk of Underride
A 33-year-old local woman survived a horrific trucking accident recently, after spending an hour of her Monday morning pinned beneath a tractor-trailer.
The Van Buren Township woman was northbound on Rawsonville Road in a 1997 Jeep when authorities say she struck a Kenworth semi turning northbound onto Rawsonville Road. She was transported to the University of Michigan Hospital by Survival Flight.
The way this incident was reported illustrates why it's so important to consult an experienced accident attorney. While reports indicate "she struck" the semi while driving northbound on Rawsonville Road, little mention is made of the fact that it would appear from the circumstances that the tractor-trailer pulled out in front of her as it turned northbound on Rawsonville Road. The collision may have occurred either because the truck crossed into her lane of travel at slow speed, or because the trailer's wide turning radius blocked the road.
An experienced Detroit 18-wheeler accident attorney knows a myriad of factors are frequently involved in tractor-trailer collisions. These are typically complex cases involving multiple victims with vary serious or fatal injuries. Conducting a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding a collision can reveal multiple contributing factors, including state and federal rule violation, as well as other parties who potentially share blame.
Underride accidents involving tractor trailers typically occur when a vehicle strikes the rear of a trailer, often because of missing or inadequate underride guards. These metal bars that hang from the back of a semi trailer are meant to prevent a motor-vehicle from passing underneath, which typically results in catastrophic injury to passengers.
However, as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports, U.S. regulators have been slow to require better underride protections, despite the fact that improve guards have been required in Canada since 2007. The IIHS petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for tougher standards in 2011, but the federal traffic-safety agency has yet to respond. The IIHS also wants the guards mandated on other large commercial vehicles that currently do not require them, including dump trucks.
IIHS research found current underride guards do not perform as required, particularly in cases where a vehicle strikes the rear guard at an angle. In fact, when overlap was reduced to 30 percent, all except the Canadian guard (Manac) failed. Top selling trailer manufacturers with underride guards that failed the test included Great Dane, Hyundai, Stoughton, Strick, Utility, Vanguard and Wabash. The Manac guard supports are attached to a reinforced floor and placed 18 inches from the edge. The Canadian trailer also suffered the least damage, requiring replacement of only the underride guard.
"If trailer manufacturers can make guards that do a better job of protecting passenger vehicle occupants while also promising lower repair costs for their customers, that's a win-win," said David Zuby, the Institute's chief research officer.
The government estimates 260 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in 2011 after driving beneath the rear of a tractor-trailer.
A Detroit truck accident lawyer can help victims. Contact Fraser & Souweidane P.C. at (866) 465-9095 to schedule a free consultation.