Stop Underrides Act: Lawmakers introduce bipartisan legislation in House, Senate
Washington — Legislators from both chambers of Congress have introduced bills intended to reduce injuries and deaths that result when passenger vehicles slide under large trucks.
On March 5, Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) introduced the Stop Underrides Act (H.R. 1511) in the House, while Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced an identical bill (S. 665) in the Senate. The legislation would require underride guards on the sides and front of large trucks, as well as updating current standards for underride guards on the rear of trucks. Federal law only requires guards on the rear of trucks.
At least 300 people die each year from underride crashes, DeSaulnier said in a March 5 press release. This type of crash renders a vehicle’s safety features useless and can cause severe head and neck injuries, including decapitation, according to the release.
“This is commonsense legislation that will save lives,” Cohen said in the release. “It’s the right kind of legislation that should be adopted in Congress more often.”
The legislation has support from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumer Reports, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the National Safety Council Road to Zero Coalition.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the legislation, stating in a March 7 press release that these bills would result in “little, if any, safety benefit” and would cost truckers billions of dollars to comply.
“Proponents of this effort have given little consideration to the impact that front and side underride guards would have on the daily operations of truckers,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in the release. “Truck drivers would face serious challenges navigating grade crossings, high curbs and numerous other road conditions.”