Highway Danger: Underride crashes

New report from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds certain underride guards on tractor trailers can greatly reduce the risk of fatal crashes.

(NBC News) The latest crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest more can be done to help car passengers survive a collision with the side of an 18 wheeler.

“In many of those crashes, the light passenger vehicle goes underneath the trailer and causes fatal injuries as a result of that underride,” explains IIHS Chief Research Officer Davidy Zuby.

The IIHS tested two systems.

The first had only a fiberglass aerodynamic deflector.

“The car passed underneath the tractor trailer, tearing off the roof, and the dummies’ heads crashed straight into the side of the truck, which would have been fatal to a human driver,” Zuby says.

The second featured the “Angelwing” from Airflow Deflector with underride protection.

“The car did not pass underneath the trailer. Airbags and seat belts were able to provide protections for the crash dummies on board,” Zuby says.

While tractor trailers are required to have rear underride guards, there are no regulations requiring the side underride guards.

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