Under-ride Truck Accident
An under-ride collision occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with a tractor-trailer or any other large truck, and ends up driving under the truck. These kinds of crashes are among the most deadly to a passenger. Oftentimes, the roof of the passenger vehicle can be sheared off, killing the occupants. If the collision occurs near the truck axles, that may prevent the vehicle from sliding under the truck.
Between 1988 and 1992, the Fatal Accident Reporting System estimates under ride accidents averaged 179 per year, or about five percent of all fatalities involving large trucks and passenger vehicles.
What is a Side Under-Ride Collision?
There are two types of under-ride collisions. A side under-ride collision occurs when a motorist does not see a truck crossing its path and drives under the big-rig. This most often happens at night when visibility is poor because of a lack of street lights or fog. Unless the big rig stands out from its environment by color or movement, it may be difficult to see.
Most people assume the large size of a big truck makes it conspicuous, but at night and under certain conditions, there may not be enough contrast, lighting or reflection to allow a motorist to see the truck until they are perhaps 100 to 200 feet away. At this point, it’s too late to stop if the motorist is traveling at a fair speed.
Trucks also have protruding loads such as beams, pipes, or lumber that put motorists at risk for an under-ride accident. Imagine trying to see a dark load of protruding wood at night. One factor that complicates things at night might be the bright tractor headlights. If they point directly at traffic, it will be difficult to perceive the truck as blocking the road.
What is a Rear Under-Ride Collision?
The other type of under-ride collision is a rear under-ride collision where the vehicle driver actually drives under the rear of the semi. Again, this seems counterintuitive but if a truck is poorly marked, is slowing for a railroad crossing, stopped, or slowly exiting the road, that may set up the conditions for a rear under-ride collision. Dirt over tail lights can contribute to a lack of visibility and the trucker may not be using emergency flashers or reflective triangles if he is stopped on the side of the road.
If a truck is jackknifed and you are approaching it, the headlights that are oncoming could create a wall of light blocking the large truck in your lane until it is too late to see.
The Dangers of Speeding
Speeding is another complicating factor. A driver may be traveling at a much greater speed than the truck in front of him and when the driver realizes the difference in the truck’s speed, it may be too late to react safely.
The Department of Transportation has mandated that trailers have conspicuous markings for all models made after December 1993. The marking is a two-inch red and white evenly spaced striped tape placed around the rear and sides of the trailer.
We Specialize in Trucking Accidents – Call Now
A Jacksonville truck accident attorney can help you sort through the investigative process and legal proceedings that may need to be taken care of during your time of grief following an under-ride collision. In the case of a wrongful death, the attorney and his or her staff can help you file the appropriate court documents and conduct a thorough investigation so that you don’t have to go it alone.