Understanding Truck Underride

Understanding Truck Underride

Truck underride is what frequently happens when a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck. The passenger vehicle goes under the truck and the crashworthy safety features of the car are not able to work. Or, to put it another way, the truck enters the passenger occupant space of the smaller vehicle — too often resulting in horrific death and debilitating injuries.

Hundreds of people die this way every year — the victims of senseless, preventable death by underride.  Yet, for decades, this problem has been left unchecked. Little has been done to preserve the occupant space and make truck crashes more survivable. Why is that?

Basically, the government has waited for the trucking industry to prove that it could do something to prevent these deaths. The trucking industry, for its part, has been waiting for the government to tell it whether or not, and how, to address this problem — before devoting R & D resources to it in order to come up with solutions. Meanwhile, the unsuspecting traveling public is left vulnerable and precious blood continues to be needlessly spilled on our roads.

Stalemate. Catch 22. Limbo. Standstill. Impasse.

The STOP Underrides! Act of 2019 will break this deadlock and get the ball rolling so that creative engineers can put effective underride protection on every truck — resulting in more truck crash survivors who can live to see another day.

On December 12, 2017, and again on March 5, 2019, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Marco Rubio introduced this long-overdue, life-saving legislation in Congress. At the same time, Congressman Steve Cohen and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier introduced an identical House Companion Measure.

Please SIGN & SHARE the STOP Underrides! Bill PetitionCongress, Act Now To End Deadly Truck Underride!

Basic Underride Information

  1. STOP Underrides Petition can be found here.
  2. Important Videos: Basics of UnderrideFront Underride Protection crash testSide Guard crash testRear Guard crash testRear Retrofit crash test
  3. Certified Letters Alert 200 Carriers of Underride Dangers & Solutions
  4. History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896-2019
  5. On August 19, we hosted another Underride Staff Briefing — this time via Zoom. We are providing Congressional Offices with the PowerPoint pdf from that presentation, including comments from engineers with expertise in underride as well as underride families: Underride Briefing PowerPoint pdf (inc. links to resources & video)
  6. Crash Tests of Rear Underride Guard Reinforcement Attachments, 2016 & 2020
  7. Media Reports & Video Footage Unveil Highlights of the Successful D.C. Underride Crash Test Event Read more here.
  8. Comparison Chart of Underride Provisions in Various Bills
  9. A quick look at some of the more recent efforts to STOP underride tragedies: Update on Underride News
  10. SOCIAL MEDIA: #STOPunderrides Tweets, AnnaLeahMary.com Facebook Pages: STOP Underrides Act of 2019Save Lives/Stop UnderridesAnnaLeah&MaryforTruckSafety ,
  11. Underride Crash Memorials These are posts in memory of a few of the thousands of underride victims. The tip of the iceberg of senseless, preventable deaths.

In September 2017, Jerry Karth, Lois Durso, and Marianne Karth compiled an extensive list of U.S. underride research, reports, and recommendations beginning in 1896 and continuing to this day. It speaks for itself: effective and comprehensive underride protection is long-overdue. This list is referred to in a post on this topic, including the following notable actions which reflect that the underride problem has long been recognized:

History of Underride Research & Reports: 1896 to 2019

History of Underride Research & Reports (flipsnack book)

In order to gain a basic understanding of the deadly but preventable truck underride problem, a compilation of helpful resources is provided below.

A complete list of posts on Understanding Underride can be found here:

Installation of an AngelWing Side Guard: 

On October 12, 2017, staff from Congressional Offices gathered to hear presentations from five experts on the topic of truck underride to better understand the need for the STOP Underrides! bill. The presentations were followed by a question & answer period as legislative staff sought to understand the problem and solutions of deadly but preventable underride crashes.

  • Malcolm Deighton, engineer with Hydro (formerly Sapa), discusses their aluminum rear underride guard — successfully crash tested at 40 mph
  • Jason Levine, Director of the Center for Auto Safety, discusses the flaws in the cost/benefit analysis of truck underride protection.
  • Robert Lane, VP of Product Engineering at Wabash National — a trailer manufacturer, discusses their commitment to development of rear and side underride protective devices for the prevention of underride deaths and debilitating injuries.
  • Matt Brumbelow, a research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), discusses the problem of truck underride and the research which IIHS has done to study rear and side underride protection.
  • Keith Friedman, Friedman Research Corporation, discusses Front Underride Protection.
  • Hosted by Lois Durso (https://stopunderrides.org/) and Marianne Karth (http://annaleahmary.com) who are working to STOP Underrides! in memory of their daughters — Roya Sadigh and sisters AnnaLeah & Mary Karth.

The presentations can be found here: Underride Briefing on The Hill; Video Excerpts of Panel Discussion on October 12, 2017

On August 19, 2020. we hosted another Underride Staff Briefing — this time via Zoom. We provided Congressional Offices with the PowerPoint pdf from that presentation, including comments from engineers with expertise in underride as well as underride families: Underride Briefing PowerPoint pdf (inc. links to resources & video)

WUSA9 did an extensive investigation into truck underride. The segments which have already aired are listed here. They plan to shed light on the problem until it is adequately addressed in this country.

Reports & Articles to Understand Underride:

For more information on truck underride, go here.