Sharing Alabama’s roadways with large trucks is an unavoidable reality for most motorists, and when cars and commercial trucks collide, cars frequently find themselves on the losing end. Recent test results involving semi-truck side guards indicate that these relatively simple enhancements have the potential to save numerous lives, and some are pushing for new mandates that would require all semi-truck companies to install them on their fleets.
Per CNN Money, “under-ride,” which occurs when a car rear-ends a commercial truck and makes its way under the truck’s trailer, is a factor in about half of all fatal accidents involving cars and large trucks. Safety advocates and experts at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believe that making it a requirement for commercial trucks to have side guards could prevent many of these fatalities, with one 2012 study indicating the safety features could reduce the risk of injury in about 90 percent of side crashes involving cars and semi-trucks.
While tests of side guards have, to date, proven quite promising, safety officials want to perform additional research and investigate further before making an official request that the government take a stance on the issue. So far, it appears that a side guard with reinforced metal ribs has had especially positive results in crash tests.
Should the government one day make truck side guards a requirement for commercial trucking companies, the move may help reduce what the University of Alabama reports is a growing number of highway fatalities within the state. In 2016, for example, the number of traffic fatalities in Alabama increased nearly a quarter over those seen the year prior.