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Proposed bill aims to stop truck underride accidents

The United States Congress is currently considering a bipartisan effort to mandate guard rails beneath truck trailers. These safety guards could prevent smaller cars from sliding under the much larger trucks. The proposed bill could have a major impact on trucking companies throughout California and the rest of the U.S.

Known as the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, the bill would require rails to be attached on both sides of all trailers as well as the front of all trucks. Sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the act would apply to all commercial trailers and semis weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly 1,500 people in cars died in collisions with large trucks in 2016. Nearly 300 of those deaths came in vehicles that struck the side of the trailer, and over 900 of the deaths occurred with collisions to the front of the truck. However, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association opposes the bill. The group claims that the mandate is not cost effective for truckers.

Collisions between large trucks and smaller cars can be devastating for those involved. If the driver of a truck caused an accident, an injured victim could file a claim for damages. These damages may include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. An attorney with experience in personal injury law could help a victim by negotiating a possible monetary settlement with the truck driver and applicable insurance company. Barring a settlement, an attorney can file a lawsuit seeking damages and take these claims to trial.

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