Image: U.S. DOT Volpe Center
Last week, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), introduced bipartisan legislation designed to make U.S. roads safer.
Collisions with large trucks are especially deadly for pedestrians and cyclists. In 2016, large trucks caused 468 pedestrian or bicyclist fatalities in the U.S., the highest total since 1990. Underride guards work by physically covering the exposed space between the front and rear wheels of large trucks, shielding pedestrians, cyclists or cars from being swept underneath the truck’s rear wheels. The guards are a proven and effective technology for reducing the number of fatalities and the severity of injuries, especially for bicyclists. Not only would the Stop Underrides Act require guards on the sides and front of a truck, it would also update the outdated standards for guards on the back of trucks.
“The American transportation system is far too dangerous, but there are steps we can take now to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists,” Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG transportation campaign director, said in a statement supporting the legislation. “U.S. PIRG applauds this bipartisan group of legislators for proposing a common-sense, but incredibly important solution. In addition to protecting drivers, this bill will make it safer for people walking and biking in our cities.”
“We have already seen underride guards adopted across the U.S. at the local and private-sector levels, and we know they work. Now, it’s time to make them a universal requirement," Casale added. "There’s no reason why anyone else should have to lose their life in one of these crashes—not when we have tools to keep them safe.”
Source: U.S. PIRG