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Legislation aims to cut risk of fatal truck crashes

Many South Carolina motorists are concerned about underride crashes, car accidents that take place when a car is trapped beneath a semi-trailer or other large truck. These crashes are often catastrophic, and hundreds of people lose their lives each year in this type of accident. Several federal lawmakers from both parties introduced a bill, the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, aimed at preventing these often-fatal collisions. The legislation would mandate that large trucks have underride guards on their sides and front. In addition, it would revise standards for rear underride guards.

The proposed legislation also mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to review these standards every five years and ensure that annual inspections for large trucks include checking for the presence of appropriate underride guards. However, the legislation has stalled in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for more than a year. Some of the most active spokespeople for these safety measures are parents who have lost children in underride crashes. One parent, whose two daughters were killed in a trucking accident, said that she did not understand why the legislation was not moving forward when it could save lives.

Some members of Congress said that truck manufacturers are already looking to improve roadway safety, including strengthening underride guards. However, advocates warn that existing rules are insufficient to protect people's lives on the road. Guards are not required on the side of trucks, and underride accident victims often experience decapitation or other severe neck or head injuries.

Truck crashes can be devastating to others on the road, and many of these collisions are caused by poorly maintained equipment or negligent truck drivers. A personal injury lawyer can work with accident victims to pursue compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

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