Require side underride guards on tractor-trailers to save lives

To the Editor,

Eleven percent of all bicyclist fatalities and 7 percent of pedestrian fatalities are the result of accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks. Yet, these trucks only account for about 4 percent of the total vehicles on the road. Of particular note, during a recent five-year period, more than 1,740 Americans died when their car, motorcycle, or bicycle collided with a large truck, and a third of those deaths were from impacts with the side of the trailer.

These deaths and countless injuries could have been prevented if the trucks had been fitted with side underride guards.

Unlike rear underride guards, side underride guards are not currently required by federal law. However, cities like Boston, New York, and Seattle now mandate that all city-owned trucks and contractor trucks be equipped with side underride guards. Most of the developed world has required these side guards for decades, but the United States has been slow to adopt them. I support those mandates, and have undertaken a campaign to educate municipal governments and hauling companies to install side underride guards on all of their tractor-trailers.

I urge everyone to contact their local, state, and federal elected officials, and urge them to require that all tractor-trailers be equipped with life-saving, side underride guards.

To facilitate these reforms, please sign the petition provided in this link:

Crumley Roberts