An unfortunate fact of life in Mississippi is that drivers must continue to share the roads with truck drivers. Many are just passing through the state, while others call Mississippi home. Whatever the case, some are dozing off through stoplights and stop signs. For this and other reasons, cars often slide under the side of the truck.
In 2017, NBC News reported that this leads to the death of 200 Americans every year. When a car slides beneath a truck, its safety features offer the driver virtually no protection. The side of the truck tends to remove the top of the car. In many instances, victims also become decapitated. One way to prevent this from happening is to put side guards on trucks.
Current laws require guards on the back of trucks for the same reason. However, Congress has yet to introduce a federal law that also puts guards on the sides of trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board and several other organizations in the transportation industry pushed for these side guards to become mandatory by law. So far, road users are still waiting for this to materialize.
According to WUSA 9, by the end of 2017, two Congress members introduced the Stop Underrides Act. It failed to move forward and was reintroduced for legislation in 2019. The bill not only called for truck manufacturers to include stronger rear guards but side guards as well.
The Senators behind the bill also requested that the Government Accountability Office prepare its study on the reporting of truck underride accidents. The Department of Transportation agreed with the recommendations provided so far but has yet to set a deadline for compliance.