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Proposed bill would tighten truck safety regulations

Safety advocates in Missouri and across the country are urging members of Congress to take action to reduce the risk of severe, often fatal trucking accidents. Underride crashes occur when a passenger car or other smaller vehicle slides and is trapped beneath the carriage of a large commercial truck in a collision. These accidents are frequently fatal, leading to severe head and neck injuries. As a result, advocates want to strengthen regulations that could prevent these types of crashes from becoming so severe.

The Stop Underride Act of 2017 was proposed by a bipartisan group of members of Congress. Underride guards were already mandated for the rear of semi-trailers after a spate of catastrophic trucking crashes. In 2011 alone, 260 people lost their lives in rear underride truck accidents, making up 19 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes between trucks and passenger cars. The proposed bill would update standards for these rear guards and also require the installation of front and side underride guards. In addition, the legislation would include underride guards as part of the mandatory annual inspection for large trucks and require the Department of Transportation to update these standards every five years.

However, the legislation has made little progress to date. As of December 2018, the bill had been sitting in the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for a year without movement. No further hearings are scheduled on the bill at least until Congress returns in January 2019.

Tractor-trailer accidents can lead to major injuries as well as fatalities. In many cases, these crashes are caused by dangerous or negligent truck drivers or even poorly maintained equipment. A personal injury lawyer could help an accident victim pursue compensation for their damages, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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