Any time a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle, there is likely to be severe damage to the passenger vehicle and injury to its occupants. The size and weight of an 18-wheel truck or other large truck make the potential for harm in a truck accident far greater than what’s likely in a car accident.
The height of tractor-trailers, semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles also poses unique dangers to other motorists sharing the road. Two types of accidents involving large trucks, called “override” and “underride” accidents, create potentially fatal situations for passenger car occupants. Both types of accidents occur because commercial truck bodies sit so much higher off the ground than other vehicles.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident anywhere in the state of Oklahoma, the attorneys Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons can help. Our Oklahoma City law firm investigates truck accidents and helps those injured recover compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.
What is an Underride Truck Accident?
When cars, SUVs or pickup trucks collide, the vehicles’ bumpers and crumple zones are designed to absorb much of the impact. The crumple zones, along with airbags and other safety features, protect vehicle occupants. Because of their higher ground clearance, however, trucks often do not collide with passenger cars squarely.
When cars hit the back or sides of trucks, they sometimes slide underneath the truck trailer. This is an underride accident. Because a car’s hood can fit under a truck or trailer, the car’s passenger compartment may be the first thing to hit during an accident, leading to car occupants taking the full brunt of the impact. In high-speed collisions, the upper passenger compartment can partially sheer off with deadly results.
Rear underride guards—metal bars that hang from the backs of trailers—are supposed to prevent underride in rear-end collision. But many underride guards that meet federal standards can fail in relatively low-speed crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which conducts crash testing.
Underride accidents also can occur in a side-impact collision if a car passes under the side of a truck trailer. Underride guards are improving and are being developed for the sides of trailers, as well, the IIHS says.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that underride occurred in about 75 percent of rear-end accidents in which the striking vehicle was a light vehicle (passenger vehicle). The underride was to the windshield or beyond in 36 percent of light-vehicle impacts.
An Oklahoma underride accident attorney at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simmons can review the details of your accident and discuss your legal options to seek compensation.