Underride accidents are those where the passenger vehicle passes under the truck’s carriage. This can happen in the rear of the truck or the sides. When this occurs, the roof of the passenger vehicle is usually sheared off, resulting in traumatic injury or death to the car’s occupants.
The Effect of a Big Rig Crash With a Passenger Car in Underride and Override Collisions
Passenger cars are much smaller and lighter than big rigs. The average, loaded big rig weighs in at about 80,000 pounds while a passenger vehicle with occupants weighs in the neighborhood of 2,900 to 3,900 pounds. The sheer difference between the size and weight of these two vehicles explains why a passenger car accident with a big rig is frequently devastating.
While the size and weight differential can easily account for the catastrophic injuries in a car/semi collision, there is more to the story. A large truck is also higher than the passenger vehicle, and this can result in a violent crash. Let’s examine this in further detail.
How Weight and Size Affect Passengers in a Big Rig Crash
Let’s look at what happens when a big rig hits a passenger vehicle on a highway. The biggest problem here is speed. Since most highways have a speed limit of 55 mph, the impact of a crash is going to be much greater than it would be on an urban street.
To put it into perspective, let’s assume a big rig that is half full and weighing 40,000 pounds hits a solid object at 60 mph. Let’s translate this to the passenger vehicle. A car weighing 4,000 pounds would need to hit a wall at 600 mph to achieve the same impact. This helps explain the problem that occurs when the big rig hits a passenger vehicle at 60 mph.
The Height of the Big Rig Really Matters
The height of the average big rig causes problems when a semi crashes with a passenger vehicle. There are two types of accidents, both of which can cause deadly injuries.
Underride accidents are those where the passenger vehicle passes under the truck’s carriage. This can happen in the rear of the truck or the sides. When this occurs, the roof of the passenger vehicle is usually sheared off, resulting in traumatic injury or death to the car’s occupants. Underride accidents also occur along the sides of the truck. This frequently happens at night when it is difficult for a car driver to see a truck in the dark due to the lack of lights along the sides of the big rig.
Federal Laws for Underride Accidents
Federal authorities ordered that all new semi-trucks be outfitted with guards that would prevent the passenger vehicle from going under the truck. These rear-underride guards are designed to keep a passenger vehicle from passing under the truck in a rear-end collision. Since a semi’s ground clearance is about 48 inches, most cars easily pass under the truck.
Noncompliant Trucking Industry Fails Drivers
Unfortunately, the trucking industry does not always comply with federal regulations. If this occurs and someone is injured or killed because of it a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. If this is responsible for your injuries or the loss of a loved one, we can file a lawsuit that will compensate you for your losses.
Override accidents are the opposite. These happen when a truck strikes a vehicle in the rear and slides over it. The weight of the truck alone in this situation is responsible for many deaths. The trucker is clearly at fault, and the accident often results from speeding.
Roeser Law Firm
If you were hit by a big rig or a family member was killed in a collision by one of them, you have the right to obtain compensation if the accident was due to negligence. To do this evidence against the responsible party must be gathered. Call the Roeser Law Firm at (202) 662-4070 to set up a free claim review, where our legal and investigative teams can analyze your case.
We will answer your questions and give you your options moving forward. We will inspect the accident site by using accident reconstruction techniques and use the information to structure a strong case against the responsible party.