On the morning of Friday, May 10th, a pickup truck and a semi-truck were involved in a serious accident on the eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway in Bellflower, California. 

Bellflower Freeway Underride CrashAccording to officials, the driver of a pickup truck remarkably suffered only non-life-threatening injuries after his truck became pinned underneath the back end of a semi-truck as they were traveling eastbound on the 91. The accident occurred near the 605 Freeway on Friday morning. 

After the accident, both vehicles caught on fire, though it was quickly put out when firefighters arrived on the scene. Investigators expect both drivers to survive. 

What Makes Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

Accidents involving large trucks like semis can be some of the most dangerous accidents. This is due to the significant difference in weight between the average vehicle and a semi-truck. The sheer mass of a large truck can inflict devastating damage upon impact, often resulting in severe injuries and even death. 

Accidents like the one that occurred on Friday in Bellflower are called underride accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines truck underride accidents as “collisions in which a car slides under the body of a truck—such as a tractor-trailer or single-unit truck—due to the height difference between the vehicles”. When these types of accidents occur, the car’s passenger compartment may become crushed, which may potentially kill or seriously injure the occupants of the vehicle. 

In an effort to prevent underride crashes, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that trailers have a rear safety bar, called an underride guard (CFR 393.86). However, there are no regulations in place that require them to be regularly inspected. 

“As a personal injury lawyer, my heart goes out to the victim of the accident that occurred Friday in Bellflower,” says Brett Schreiber of Singleton Schreiber. “While we are relieved to hear that he escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, the trauma of such a terrifying ordeal can linger long after the physical wounds have healed. It’s important that the victim of this accident and others involved in similar accidents know that they may have legal recourse and could consider contacting a personal injury attorney to learn more about their options.” 

Safety Measures That Can Help Prevent Underride Accidents

Underride accidents pose significant risks to drivers and passengers alike. To mitigate these dangers, it’s crucial to implement effective safety measures. Here are some strategies that can help to prevent underride accidents:

  • Maintaining safe following distances – drivers should keep a safe distance between them and large trucks, especially when driving behind them. This distance allows for better visibility and more reaction time in case of sudden stops. 
  • Avoid driving in blind spots – drivers should avoid driving for prolonged periods of time in the blind spots of trucks. If you can’t see their mirrors, they probably can’t see you. Staying out of the blind spot zones minimizes the risk of underride accidents. 
  • Be aware of road conditions – adverse weather or low visibility can have an impact on the safety of road conditions. If you’re driving in inclement weather, reduce your speed and increase the following distance, especially when driving near large trucks. 
  • Installing enhanced underride guards – truck drivers can install strong and more durable underride guards. These can significantly reduce the likelihood of underride accidents and their severity as they act as barriers to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath the body of the truck in the event of a collision. 

If you or a loved one have been involved in an underride accident with a semi-truck, contact the Singleton Schreiber by calling (619) 771-3473 or via email at info@singletonschreiber.com to learn more about your potential options.