It’s not surprising that accidents involving semi trucks result in far greater rates of serious injury and death than regular car accidents. While nothing can offset the sheer size and power which make these trucks so dangerous, safety measures are taken to reduce the risk of serious injuries. One example is underride guards. They are long metal frames that hang down under the rear of the semi and are designed to prevent cars from sliding under the trucks in rear-end collisions.
Unfortunately, a new study shows that current underride guards are offering little in the way of protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the insurance industry, conducted crash tests which show the guards tend to fail at higher speeds (video). The group recommends tougher regulations. Here's the full report.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 400 people die each year as a result of rear end collisions with semi trucks. More than 5,000 people are injured.