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U.S. slow to mandate life-saving truck side guards

Research shows that installing side guards on trucks could save lives in California and across the country. However, the U.S. government has been slow to mandate the safety feature's use by the U.S. trucking industry.

In 2017, 4,102 people were killed in truck accidents on U.S. roads. Worse, 82% of the fatalities were pedestrians, bicyclists or the occupants of vehicles other than the truck. The most common cause of death in these accidents involved the victim or the victim's vehicle sliding beneath the side the truck's trailer, resulting in crush injuries. However, studies conducted in Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom found that side guards significantly decrease the number of deaths associated with truck crashes. In fact, after the U.K. began requiring the use of truck side guards, cyclist deaths from side-impact truck accidents decreased over 60%. Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths from such crashes dropped 20%.

In addition, research by the National Transportation Safety Board has found that side guards could decrease the number of side-collision truck accidents causing injuries or fatalities. As a result, the agency recommended that underride protection systems be included on all new trucks. Despite this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has failed to mandate the use of the systems by the trucking industry. However, Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and several U.S. states have mandated or are preparing to mandate the use of side guards on trucks.

Individuals injured in truck accidents might benefit by contacting a Costa Mesa truck accident injury compensation law firm. After assessing a victim's case, attorneys at the firm may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and the driver's trucking company. This action might result in a settlement that compensates the victim for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, property damage and more.

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