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Truck Underride Accidents: Know the Risks

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Car Accidents, Truck Accidents on May 18, 2021

Truck accidents in Portland are unfortunately common and one of the most dangerous types of crashes. In addition to the massive weight and length of most semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs, the height at which they sit is another factor that increases the risk. Underride truck accidents, in which a motorist goes completely under a truck, are a major concern. While today’s trucks are required to have underride bars on the back to prevent this from happening, the front and sides are a serious concern as well.

Passenger Killed In Truck Underride Accident in Portland Near Airport

In early May 2021, one person was killed and another seriously injured in a truck underride accident near the Portland airport. According to a report by KGW Channel 8 News, a motorist in a Mustang convertible was traveling northeast on Cornfoot Road and at a high rate of speed when it crashed directly into the side of a Freightliner tractor with a box trailer, which was pulling out of a nearby driveway.

The car went completely under the tractor-trailer near the front of the rear wheels and came out the other side. While the truck driver was unharmed, a 56-year-old man driving the Mustang was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. A 43-year-old passenger in the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. Sadly, she represents the 24th traffic fatalities in Portland this year.

With the massive height of commercial vehicles, underride accidents are a serious risk and one of the most common causes of fatal truck accidents. They often result in crushing injuries to the head, back, and neck, causing catastrophic harm to victims.

Underguards Protect Rear of The Truck But Not Sides or Front

Underride guards have been required on the rear of commercial trucks since the death of Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield in 1967. The mother of Law and Order SVU actress Mariska Hargitay, Mansfield was killed in a horrific manner when the car she was traveling in crashed into the back of a truck and went underneath. A law was passed shortly after making underride guards-often referred to as Mansfield bars-mandatory.

Recently, Trucking Info reported that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had proposed making underride guards part of standard truck inspections. However, they continue to be used only on the back. Drivers face the risk of going under the truck, as in the case above, in t-bone or side-impact truck accidents. Underride truck accidents are also a concern in cases where a motorist is rear-ended by a truck driver.

Let Us Help You Today

Any time a fatal accident happens, it is heartbreaking for family members. The situation is particularly tragic when it could have been prevented. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and other motorists involved can all be held liable for underride truck accidents. To discuss your rights in filing a claim, reach out to Johnston Law Firm P.C. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorney online and request a consultation today.

Marc Johnston
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