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Proposed protection in tractor-trailer underride crashes

As Lake Charles motorists head out onto Interstate 10 to visit friends and family for the holidays, they will share the road with the most dangerous things on wheels: tractor-trailers. Among the most deadly motor vehicle crashes are truck underride accidents that take place when passenger cars collide with 18-wheelers.

In an underride crash, the car slides under the truck, striking the underside of the larger vehicle. These collisions often result in devastating head and neck injuries on impact; in many cases causing fatalities, even at low speeds.

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand (a Democrat from New York) and Marco Rubio (a Republican from Florida) have proposed legislation that would prevent some of those injuries and fatalities. The Stop Underrides Act of 2017 would require installation of a simple barrier to the lower part of 18-wheelers. These underride guards would prevent cars from sliding beneath trucks in crashes.

Current federal law only requires the guards on the backs of 18-wheelers and does not require the barriers on the front or sides of tractor-trailers.

“This bipartisan legislation would save lives," said Gillibrand. "We should pass it as quickly as possible to keep Americans safe while they’re driving, whether they’re heading to see family and friends for the holidays or driving to work on their morning commute."

Rubio said the proposal would "spare more families the grief of losing a loved one by implementing underride guards on trucks across the nation."

It's impossible to know how many lives would be saved by this measure, but we know for sure that it would help to make our roads a little bit less dangerous.

Please enjoy the coming holidays safely.

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