I recently asked DOT for a breakdown of truck underride deaths by type: front, side, and rear. Yesterday, they sent a chart of Underride Fatalities from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)–taken from crash reports submitted to DOT:
From 1994 to 2014, this is the breakdown of Deaths by Underride:
Collision at Front of the Truck: 625
Collision at Side of the Truck: 1534
Collision at Rear of the Truck: 1715
Collision Site Unknown: 132
Total Underride Deaths Reported: 4,006
Of course, we need to remember that these figures do not include all underride deaths, as it is well-known that they are commonly under-reported. In fact, this chart does not include underride crashes which happened when the truck was parked. When we include those types of crashes, the FARS records yield 5,081 underride deaths in that same time period.
I have known for some time that there are many deaths due to side underride crashes. But to find out that there are almost as many deaths from side underride as rear underride?! How can NHTSA require rear underride guards and yet not mandate side underride guards? How can they possibly justify that? (Some kind of convoluted cost/benefit analysis, I suppose.) And why are trucks even sold without side guards?
The question must be asked: Whom shall we hold responsible for those 4,006+ deaths (and those not reported as underride deaths), along with the people who died before 1994? The government? The trucking industry? Ourselves for letting it happen in our ignorance or apathy? All of us?
And what about now–today? Will we hold those, who have the authority to act, accountable to do the right thing? Will we demand that they move ahead quickly to correct this tragic and unimaginable situation? Will we make sure that all trucks have the best possible underride protection?
our mangled Crown Vic on May 4, 2013
Sign our petition to NHTSA to initiate rulemaking on side guards: Mandate Side Guards On Large Trucks To End Deadly Side Underride Crashes
Demand that we act compassionately to preserve human life rather than protect profit. Otherwise, if we knowingly allow this to continue unabated, will we all be accessories to murder?
Two of the thousands we have lost: