When commercial trucks and passenger cars collide in Florida, it is often the people riding in the smaller, lighter vehicles who suffer serious injuries or fatalities. Many such incidents result from similar circumstances, and many people who die in commercial truck wrecks do so in underride crashes.
According to Trucking Info, underride crashes occur when a passenger vehicle winds up under the front, side or rear of a tractor-trailer. As these crashes and fatalities become more common, transportation safety officials are considering creating a mandate requiring commercial trucks to have underride guards as a preventative measure.
Arguments for mandating truck underride guards
Legislators have introduced three prior bills aimed at requiring underride guards on large trucks in 2017, 2019 and 2021. However, those bills have yet to become law. Those in favor or requiring large trucks to have underride guards cite crash data detailing what happens to passengers who hit trailers while traveling at a speed of 35 mph. The data showed that passengers were more likely to die in these events when the trucks they came in contact with lacked underride guards.
Arguments against mandating truck underride guards
Many arguments against mandating underride guards come from the trucking industry itself. Some trucking companies argue that these heavy guards, which might weigh about 800 pounds, reduce the amount of cargo their vehicles may carry, forcing them to make more trips. They argue that putting more trucks on the road heightens risks in other ways, thereby making roadways less safe overall.
Because so many fleet owners oppose underride guards, many are unlikely to install these guards on their vehicles in the absence of a national mandate.