On July 27, 2017, three teens were killed when their car went under a truck in the state of Washington. A report was published last week with a detective’s analysis of what led to their deaths. His conclusion bothered me because it represents the common misunderstanding of what causes people to die in truck crashes.
See if you can figure out what is missing in his analysis of this horrific truck crash.
Read the report from the lead detective below:
“There are several key factors involved in this collision that resulted in the death of three teenagers. . . Given the estimated speed of the driver’s vehicle it is unknown whether or not the rear bumper would have been able to withstand the impact to prevent an under-ride of the semi-trailer.
When I see underride tragedies which involve a parked truck, I often wonder if the car driver was confused by the truck’s location and made the unconscious assumption that the road went that way and they would be following another vehicle in front of them by steering their car in that direction. This study/article addresses the visual challenges involved in split-second driving decisions: http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/underride.html
Even if the car was going 35 mph and there had been a rear underride guard (designed to meet the current federal standard), the car would have gone under the truck. And in another crash earlier that year, a man rear-ended a truck which had an improved rear underride guard at perhaps 50 mph and survived!