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Side guards on semi-trucks could save lives, but cost rules here

A crash with a semi-truck is something that can cause serious injury or death to the victims. In many semi-truck crashes, one of the mitigating factors is whether the vehicle went beneath the trailer or not.

There are some videos and movie scenes that show passenger cars gliding beneath a semi-truck trailer while it is in motion. While this can happen with some very low profile cars, it isn't something that is commonplace.

A more common occurrence is when the car begins to go under the trailer and the top of the car is sheared off. In this case, the airbags and other safety devices in the car have little to no effect on the safety of the occupants.

Accidents that involve a car going under a semi-truck trailer are very serious. These accidents are also very serious when they involve a pedestrian or bicyclist. In all of these cases, side guards could help to prevent the car, pedestrian or bicyclist from being pulled under the trailer.

This is a known safety issue with semi-trucks. While some governing entities have taken steps to require certain semi-trucks and other large vehicles like dump trucks to have side guards, this isn't something that is universal for all big rigs. One of the reasons why this isn't universal is that it is considered something that isn't cost effective.

When the need to keep things cost effective overrules human safety, there is a problem. People who are injured in crashes with semi-trucks might choose to seek compensation, which could send a strong message to the trucking industry about putting safety over money.

Source: WOOD TV, "Deadly crashes spur calls for semi-truck side guards," Mary Esch, July 30, 2017

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