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By ChengH (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Car accidents are never a pleasant thing, but side underride crashes may be the most devastating of all car accidents. Side underride car accidents happen when a passenger vehicle hits the side of a tractor-trailer causing their car to go under the truck’s trailer and shears off the top of the car.

Over 200 people have been killed in car accidents involving side underride collisions. The NHSTA requires tractor trailers to have a safety rail on the back of their trailers, but not on the sides. Lois Durso, the mother of a young woman who died in a side underride crash is advocating for the side safety rails to be installed on all tractor trailers.

Roy Sadigh, Lois’ daughter, was only 26 when she lost her life in a fatal side underride car accident. Roya and her fiance were driving in an Indiana snowstorm in 2005 when their car spun out of control. Roya’s vehicle ended up striking a tractor trailer broadside and the car was caught under the trailer and was run over but its rear wheels.

The U.S. Fails to Prevent Fatal Underride Car Accidents

When Lois went to Europe in the year following, she noticed the tractor trailers on the roads had safety rails installed on the rear and side of their trailers. To her dismay, research revealed the U.S. did not require such safety equipment on tractor trailers.

Her research showed that the trucking manufacturers were fully aware of the fatal car accidents involving side underride collisions. That was when she started her advocacy. Congress has not yet issued a mandate for underride car accident safety rails even though the executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, John Lannen, agrees that side guards would save lives.

Will Congress Help Save Others From Fatal Car Accidents?

The guard rails installed on the rear of tractor trailers prevent rear underride car accidents, but were not mandated until 1998 by the NHTSA. The most famous case of a rear underride car accident was that of Jayne Mansfield nearly 50 years ago. Even though it took decades to enact, the rails on the rear are called Mansfield bars in honor of the late actress.

The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association as their reservations about installing this fatal car accident prevention device citing cost, weight and safety issues. It’s probably no coincidence that prior calls to enact safety legislation have been foiled considering the same association donated nearly $750,000 to head of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committe, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, in the last 5 years.

For families affected by the loss of a loved one in a fatal underride car accident, there is no cost too great to ensure this doesn’t happen to others. If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of a loss of this type, call our office today at 314-862-7222 to discuss your rights.