Recent changes to the structure of tractor-trailers throughout the United States are actually preventing fatalities as intended. A recent North Carolina crash victim was saved, according to officers, when he collided with a steel bar at the base of a semi-truck instead of sliding completely under the larger vehicle. These steel beams, known as underride guards, have likely prevented scores of fatalities in truck accidents since they were first implemented.
Even though the man survived the collision, he still suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash, which occurred on Dec. 2 at about 6:30 a.m. on Interstate 540. The truck accident occurred when the 23-year-old man smashed into the rear end of the semi-truck, which was parked in the right lane with its flashers on. The truck had been struck by another vehicle shortly before the second wreck. The driver of the smaller car has been cited for failing to reduce speed; the truck driver was charged with failing to remove his vehicle from the lane of travel. The truck driver said he was afraid to pull over to the shoulder because he thought he might cause an accident, considering the heavy flow of traffic.
Emergency responders at the scene said they thought the occupant of the small Prius would have suffered fatal injuries during the crash, but they were surprised to see that he was alert and talking after the truck accident. Authorities say that the underride guard definitely saved the man in this case, but those guards have also had far-reaching effects in public safety on North Carolina roads. Both state and federal guidelines regulate the underride guards, which prevent smaller vehicles from shearing off when they strike the rear end of a tractor-trailer.
Luckily, the victim survived this collision because of additional safety measures. He could still be entitled to financial compensation in civil court, however, which could be used to pay for medical bills and other associated costs. A personal injury attorney can help such victims learn more about their courtroom rights.
www.wral.com, "Trooper: I-540 wreck could have been worse without steel bar" No author given, Dec. 02, 2013