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Truck insurance groups want better safety devices on trucks

Highway safety is of primary concern to many New York truckers. Unfortunately, one of the deadliest types of accidents in which many tractor-trailers are involved is often out of their control. Nevertheless, truck insurance groups may soon be asking lawmakers to require truck manufacturers to take steps to minimize the severity of injuries in these accidents.

Under-ride crashes occur when smaller vehicles crash into the sides of tractor-trailers. The lower vehicles often slide under the high sides of the trailer, causing devastating injuries and death. Some data suggests that about half of fatalities in car-versus-truck crashes result from under-ride injuries. In fact, about 750 under-ride fatalities occurred in a single year.

Side guards added to the trailers of big rigs have proven to prevent cars from passing under a trailer by using the car's body to slow the momentum of the car and activate safety devices such as air bags. Without the bars, the car may not come in contact with the truck until the lower edge of the trailer penetrates the car's windshield. Reinforced metal bars, not the side skirts, are effective for stopping cars going about 35 mph, potentially reducing the risk of injury by 90 percent.

Truck insurance groups understand that improving safety not only saves lives but ultimately improves the bottom line. Fewer accidents means fewer personal injury lawsuits and lower premiums for trucking companies. Meanwhile, New York truckers, trucking companies and their insurance companies continue to face lawsuits following accidents. In such situations, having a strong defense strategy may improve the chances of a positive outcome.

Source: CNN, "Preventing deaths when cars hit tractor trailers", Peter Valdes-Dapena, Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018

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