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Side guards could save lives in truck crashes

Crashes involving large trucks have particularly high stakes for other drivers of smaller passenger vehicles on Pennsylvania roadways. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2017 alone, 4,102 people died in truck crashes. A full 82% of these victims were other drivers, passengers in other cars, pedestrians or motorcyclists. The size and weight of large trucks mean that they are a much greater threat to people in smaller cars or no vehicles at all. While any truck crash can lead to catastrophic injuries, some types of crashes were more likely to be deadly.

One of the most frequent fatal types of truck accident involves falling and being crushed in the exposed region between the front and back wheels of a large truck along its side. Side-impact crashes are more common in truck crashes, and 556 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in side crashes with trucks from 2005 to 2009. Technology exists that can help make deadly side crashes less likely to occur. Side guards on high-clearance trucks, which are required in many places around the world, cut down deadly trucking accidents. For example, bicyclist fatalities fell by 61% in the U.K. after the devices were implemented.

However, the U.S. has not adopted any national regulations requiring the use of side guards despite their growing popularity internationally. Some cities and states are taking steps to require side guards, including Philadelphia and New York City. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that side guards be required on trucks in order to lessen the risk of deadly truck collisions, but no regulations have been put in place.

Trucking accidents can be especially devastating to others on the road, particularly when they are caused by a dangerous or negligent driver. A personal injury lawyer may help victims of truck crashes pursue compensation for their damages.

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