Given how big and heave they are, it should come as no surprise that accidents in New Jersey that involve tractor trailers are much more serious than those limited to smaller passenger vehicles. One of the biggest dangers is what happens when a car impacts with a large truck and slides underneath it.
According to CNN, when the hood goes underneath a truck, it can compromise the car’s windshield and cabin and lead to serious injury and often death. In fact, in almost half of deadly truck accidents, underride was found to be a factor.
In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study in 2012, which found that injuries in side crashes could be reduced by 90 percent if trucks were outfitted with side guards to prevent such impacts. Some truck currently have skirts on their sides, but these are meant to reduce air flow and increase fuel efficiency, not to prevent underride accidents. CNET reports that all trucks currently have rear guards to prevent underride in rear-end accidents. However, there is no federal mandate requiring trucks to have structural guards on their sides.
The IIHS is currently collecting data to better understand how side guards could play a role in preventing injuries and fatalities. If the data supports it, a recommendation to make side guards mandatory may follow. This issue is especially important, since statistics show that the number of deaths from side collisions has been on the rise in recent years. In 2015, side collisions played a role in 20 percent of the 1,542 truck crash deaths that year.