Members of Congress reintroduced legislation designed to stop deadly accidents in which passenger vehicles strike and travel underneath tractor-trailers. Initially introduced in 2019, the Stop Underrides Act legislation aims to improve motor vehicle safety by requiring trucks to have side and front underride guards in addition to the current rear underride guard regulation.
United States Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), along with Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) from the House of Representatives, reintroduced the Stop Underrides Act legislation in March of 2021.
Currently, federal law only requires underride guards—horizontal steel bars that prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath trucks in crashes—to be installed on the rear of tractor-trailers. Legislators behind the Stop Underrides Act believe the current requirement is inadequate, as lives continue to be lost in underride crashes involving the front and sides of tractor-trailers.
In addition to requiring front and side underride guards, if passed, the legislation would also require that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) update current rear-end underride guard regulations. It would further require that single-unit trucks, single trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers adhere to the side and front underride guard requirements. Additionally, annual inspections carried out by motor carriers would be updated to include the presence of functioning underride guards as a critical criterion that must be met in order for a truck to be deemed safe for the road.
Between 1994 to 2018, more than 6,000 people died in underride accidents. The truck accident attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman believe that strong underride guard legislation is critical to protecting motor vehicle passengers. Research continues to show that underride guards save lives.
The Stop Underrides Act has 11 cosponsors. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), Institute for Safer Trucking (IST), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Truck Safety Coalition, AnnaLeah & Mary for Truck Safety, Stop Underrides, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) are all in support of the bill.
Experienced Truck Safety Advocates
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is a national law firm based in Los Angeles, California. We first opened our doors in 1973 to help those injured by careless and negligent parties. Since then, we have won more than $4 billion in landmark verdicts and settlements for our clients from coast to coast.
Our trucking team includes board-certified truck accident attorney Diane Marger Moore, who has conducted more than 200 trials and holds a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™. Attorney Moore is also triple board-certified in truck accident law, civil trial, and civil pretrial practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA).
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