Tractor-trailers help keep commerce moving in the United States, and the overwhelming majority of truck drivers reach their destinations without any trouble. However, truck accidents happen, and a tractor-trailer could inflict enormous damage on a smaller vehicle. Reducing the potential injuries and fatalities on Texas roads sometimes requires assistance from vehicle manufacturers. Affixing under guards to the sides of tractor-trailers might be helpful, but no statutory mandates exist.
Sideguards and enhanced safety
Sideguards, also known as truck lateral protective devices, work to keep other vehicles from going underneath a tractor-trailer in a collision. The safeguards are barriers that work to prevent vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles from suffering in an under-rail crash.
Federal legislation that intends to mandate the inclusion of sideguards on tractor-trailers stalled in Congress. However, some tractor-trailers have such safety features installed. Perhaps some trucking companies’ managers understand how these guards may reduce fatal accidents, making them a worthwhile investment.
Accidents and tractor-trailer design issues
If a car gets caught underneath a tractor-trailer, the driver and passengers might not survive. However, a sideguard’s presence alone is not enough to keep people safe. Truck drivers must follow the rule of the road and avoid committing dangerous moving violations. Otherwise, they could be responsible for any resulting big rig accidents.
The truck driver’s employer may also face liability claims if they contributed negligence in any way. Failing to properly maintain and service a truck fleet is one example of possible neglect. Both the driver and the trucking company should realize that operating a semi-truck with worn brakes could lead to disaster.
Liabilities could derive from the faulty installation of a sideguard. A third party might be liable if the sideguard doesn’t remain in place due to shoddy work. Also, installing the wrong sideguard for a particular vehicle might cause avoidable problems.