Deadly crashes: Families push for new legislation regulating tractor-trailers

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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT/CBS) - Under-ride crashes involving tractor-trailers kill around 200 people each year.

Under-ride crashes are when vehicles crash under the rear bumper or under the sides of tractor-trailers.

In many cases, people inside the car are seriously injured or even decapitated.

While there are regulations making the rear bumpers safer, there is currently no legislation that creates safety features for the sides.

Families across the country who have lost loved ones in this kind of crash are now pushing lawmakers to change that.

Lois Durso's daughter, Roya, was killed in an under-ride side crash in 2004.

Durso now leads the national push to add safety features to the sides of tractor-trailers.

"Under-ride is a big problem in this country, it's been going on for decades and it's time to do something about it", said Durso.

Local Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers are not able to comment on any bills or legislation, but they say crashes involving tractor-trailers are unfortunately common in this area.

"Whether it be from rear impact, side impact, head-on collisions, you name it", said Steven Douglas, who is the Public Affairs Officer for the central branch of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement. "We've certainly seen our fair share of it here in our area."

Douglas says, in many cases, these deaths are preventable.

"Distracted driving is definitely toward the top, you've got impaired driving, fatigued driving", Douglas said. "For the most part, distracted driving is going to be one of your major contributing factors to most commercial vehicle accidents."

Laws are already in place requiring rear guards on tractor-trailers.

Truck drivers at a weigh station in Laurel County say new legislation would not affect them unless the new safety guards greatly increase the weight of their trucks.

If that is the case, they would likely be responsible for higher shipping costs.

"Your chances of survival are definitely slim when going up against a commercial vehicle", said Douglas. "So one thing we would like to leave with everyone here today is, you know, buckle up."

Lois Durso started an organization called StopUnderRides.org.

She believes if side guards were in place during her daughter's crash, she would still be alive today.



 
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