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The Stop Underrides Act Bill Introduced in the US Senate for a Third Time

March 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC -  Underride accidents are collisions in which a motor vehicle slides underneath a large truck. A proposed bill would require underride guards on certain trucks and trailers, which would bring relief to those who have tragically lost loved ones in underride accidents.  However, some trucking groups that are opposing the bill claim the underride guards are a safety hazard for truck drivers and the trucking industry. 

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have reintroduced the "Stop Underrides Act" to the U.S. Senate on March 8, 2021.  The Stop Underrides Act strengthens the requirements for rear underride guards.  The bill would also mandate single-unit trucks to use underride guards.  The bill would require certain trucks and trailers to have rear, side, and front underride guards installed.  The trucks affected would include 18-wheelers and trailers that weigh over 10,000 pounds, and on single-unit trucks with a carriage over 22 inches above the ground and weigh over 10,000 pounds.  Under current federal law, underride guards are only required on the back of a trailer.

The bill has been introduced three times.  Previous attempts to pass the bill have failed due to a portion of the bill that included retrofitting existing trucks and trailers. However, the bill never passed the Senate committee. The bill was created by Lois Durso Hawkins and Marianne Karth, who started advocating for underride protection legislation following the tragic loss of their children in separate underride accidents.

According to the news article, the distance from the undercarriage of a tractor-trailer-truck and the road is 41 inches, and the height of a car's hood is around 33 inches.  If there is a collision, the car can slide under the truck's trailer causing severe injuries and fatalities.  

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted crash tests, and the results of those tests show that underride guards help prevent severe injuries.

The Owner-Operator Independent Driving Association (OOIDA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) are opposed to the bill.  The groups allege the underride devices "haven't been proven to be effective in real-world highway settings." 

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Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.