Senators say bill will save motorists from being killed in truck crashes

(NBC) - When a car slams into the side of a tractor-trailer and slides underneath, the results can be horrific. Many of a car's safety features are rendered worthless. The top of the car may be sheared off; the occupants are often decapitated.

Federal statistics show that on roads and highways across America, "side underride crashes" kill more than 200 people every year.

On Tuesday, for the first time, members of Congress proposed a bill that would require guards on the sides and front of all trucks to help prevent cars from sliding underneath them during collisions.

"There is a massive safety design flaw that makes collisions between cars and trucks much deadlier than they need to be," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who introduced the Stop Underrides Act of 2017 with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. "This bipartisan legislation would save lives."

In February, an NBC News investigation found that despite a recommendationfrom the National Transportation Safety Board, side guards are still not required on trucks, even though NTSB, which investigates accidents, concluded that they would reduce injuries and deaths on America's roads.

Click here to read the original NBC News story on side underride crashes

The investigation featured the stories of two women who began crusading for side guards after they lost children to truck underride crashes. Both were thrilled by Gillibrand and Rubio's bill.

Marianne Karth, who lost her two teen daughters, AnnaLeah and Mary, in a 2003 crash in Georgia, said, "We are excited at the progress we have made in a short time compared to the decades of inaction."

"There is no greater heartache than knowing that you've lost a child to a crash that was preventable," said Lois Durso, whose 26-year-old daughter, Roya Sadigh, was killed in Indiana a dozen years ago. "After thousands of preventable truck underride deaths over many decades — finally, for the first time, we are on the cusp of making a difference in truck underride deaths."


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