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NHTSA considering safety rules for underride guards

Some Louisiana residents are seriously injured or killed every year in accidents with large trucks. Some of these accidents are known as underride accidents in which vehicles slide underneath the trucks either from the rear or the side. These collisions are especially dangerous and often result in death due to the roof being crushed.

Truck owners are currently required to have underride guards on the backs of their trucks. No guards are required to be installed along the sides, and there are no standards for the materials used or the quality of the rear guards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is consequently considering mandating upgrades to existing guards as well as the installation of side underride guards.

Some truck owners are opposed to any proposed standards, believing that they would be too costly. They say that the upgrades to the existing rear guards alone could cost up to $2,000. They also state that the added weight of the guards might reduce their profits due to decreasing the amount of goods that the trucks could carry because of weight limits.

The potential risk of serious injury is much higher in a commercial vehicle accident because of the size and weight of the truck. The industry is heavily regulated because of the risk of injuries and fatalities. While the addition of side guards and the strengthening of rear guards might lessen the severity of injuries to others, they will not necessarily prevent an accident that has been caused by a truck driver who was speeding, impaired, distracted or otherwise negligent. People who have been injured in such a collision may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.

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