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Underride Guards Hazardous to Drivers?

<font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> </font><span style="font-family: Times New Roman;" size="3"> </span><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none;" class="MsoNormal">Next<span style='font-family: "Microsoft Sans Serif"; font-size: 10pt;'> </span>time you're driving behind a large truck, look closely at the underride guards.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none;" class="MsoNormal">They're put on the bottom of trucks to prevent cars from sliding under them during rear-end collisions. <o:p></o:p></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;" class="MsoNormal">But they may not prevent the disaster they're designed to.</p> </font>

When Mark Long is traveling on I-90, he does not like driving behind trucks.

He says it is mainly because the underride guards on the bottom of trucks are not as safe as they look. Wisconsin Motorist Mark Long says "those guards underneath....you're either going to go under it, it's going to open your car up like a can opener. It's not going to do what they say it's going to do."

 

But is Long right? When The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 8 trailers to see how much the guards prevented cars from going under them, many of them failed. David Zuby of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says "when an underride guard fails, it's a very devastating crash. The first point of impact is on the windshield, and then the top occupant compartment is sheared off."

 

The impact can be devastating even if the car just clips the outer end of a bar. Zuby says "outside the main vertical support, there isn't enough additional support to keep the car from bending forward, allowing the car to slide under in a devastating way.

 

Truck driver Jim Newton has seen plenty of underride accidents on the road. Jim Newton Minneapolis says "they just sandwich underneath it, and it's a bad situation."

Newton believes these accidents can be avoided by simply paying more attention to the roads. Newton says "much of it has to do with things like being distracted. You know like eating while you're driving, or texting, or being on the phone"

 

He is urging police to step in. Newton says "I think law enforcement; they need to get up in the big trucks to see down in the car, and when people are texting, give them a ticket."

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