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New Proposals to Reduce Truck Accidents Among Single-Unit Trucks

Chicago truck accident attorneyTruck crashes of all types can be deadly. When most people think about serious truck accidents, they think of big rigs or tractor trailers. On highways, you routinely see tractors pulling large trailers behind them. These vehicles can have a combined weight of as much as 80,000 pounds, so it comes as no surprise crashes involving tractor-trailers can be serious or deadly. There are also other large trucks on roads, through, which also present a serious risk to motorists when an accident happens.

Some of the trucks you encounter most on regular locals roads as well as highways are called single unit trucks.  Dump trucks, cement or concrete trucks, garbage trucks, and most local delivery trucks are considered single unit trucks.  The official definition of a single unit truck is a vehicle with a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more, which has a single chassis on which the drive train, engine, cab, and cargo area are all located.

Like tractor trailers, federal regulations apply to many of these single unit trucks in order to ensure they are designed and operated safely on roads throughout the United States. Now, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced two new proposed rules which are open for comment regarding requirements for single unit trucks. These new rules are designed to prevent some of the most dangerous kinds of truck crashes occurring throughout the United States.

Single Unit Trucks Could be Subject to New Safety Regulations

As many as 342,000 single unit trucks could be affected by a proposed mandate to require installation of underride guards on the rear of these vehicles. Underride guards essentially are big metal pieces sitting at the bottom back and (and sometimes bottom sides) of a truck. Underride guards are designed to prevent another car (or a bicycle rider or motorist) from slipping underneath the body of the truck.

Trucks, including single unit trucks, are located high off the ground and it is easy for a person or car to go underneath the chassis when a crash happens.  As the car slides underneath the body of the truck, intrusion on the passenger apartment occurs and can often have deadly results. Underride guards aim to make sure this does not happen by preventing anything or anyone from getting under the back bottom of a single unit truck.   Underride guard mandates are already in place for most large tractor trailers, but NHTSA's proposal is to expand and strengthen regulations applicable to single unit trucks.

Another proposed new NHTSA rule would apply to 579,000 single unit trucks nationwide.  This proposed regulation would require using reflective tape on single unit vehicles to make the trucks (and their size and location) more visible to motorists.  The goal is to prevent underride and other accident types by ensuring single unit trucks can easily be seen from longer distances away.

Rules proposed by NHTSA do not always become mandates and can take a long time to move through the rule-making process. Vulnerabilities exist, particularly for underride accidents, and truckers and other motorists need to know the crash risks and exercise reasonable care to prevent harm.

Contact our Columbus, OH accident lawyers today. Call 1-800-930-SCOTT or visit for a free case consultation. Serving Franklin County, Delaware County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Pickaway County, Madison County and Union County.

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Scott Smith is a lawyer based out of Columbus, Ohio. He works hard to protect the rights of personal injury victims. He has three decades of experience in Central Ohio in cases ranging from car and truck accidents to premises liability.

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