Legislation pushes for new safety regulations for underride guards on tractor-trailers

WASHINGTON, DC — Lawmakers have reintroduced legislation for a third time aimed at improving the safety of big rigs on the roadway.

“The Stop Underrides Act” would require underride guards on the sides and front of new tractor-trailers and update the safety standards for the guards.

An underride crash happens when a car slides underneath a large truck or tractor-trailer.

Sarah Jo Plucker Wright survived an underride crash in August of 2018 when she was on her way to work.

“I saw the semi coming and I watched him pretty much drive over the hood of my car,” Wright said. “The next thing I knew, my leg was bending in places it shouldn’t bend. The console was smoking. The hood was on fire.”

Wright now deals with a permanent injury to her leg but she said she was lucky to survive, as so many people do not.

Eric Hein’s 16-year-old son Riley was killed in an underride crash in New Mexico in 2015.

“He car was dragged for a half a mile and it burst into flames and Riley burned to death,” Hein said.

The bill has bipartisan support, with both Democrats and Republicans co-sponsoring the legislation.

“We can’t eliminate all accidents. They happen but there is no reason at all that we cannot use technology that’s reasonable and effective to ameliorate the impact,” Wright said.

Critics of the proposal have said the weight of the new guards could force trucks to reduce their loads which could lead to more trucks on the roads.