A 21-year-old man suffered severe injuries in a big-rig crash in Santa Ana after he slammed his Honda Civic into the back of a semi truck, The Orange County Register reports. The accident happened at the 100 block of E. Dyer Road near Main Street, according to police reports.
Initial reports from the investigation apparently revealed that the semi was pulling out of a driveway on Dyer and had started heading east, which was when the Honda crashed into the rear of the truck. The impact of the crash left the Civic wedged under the truck. Firefighters had to extricate the driver from the crumpled car, the Register reports.
Officials said they came to the conclusion initially that the driver of the Civic was going too fast because of the large amount of skid marks they found. They say he must have seen the truck and stepped on the brakes, but couldn’t stop in time. The big-rig driver was not injured.
This article obviously does not give us too much information to determine cause or fault. Initial reports say the Civic driver was speeding, but many other facts remain to be determined. Still, the photo accompanying the story clearly shows that this was what is commonly known as a “rear under-ride crash,” which occurs when a passenger vehicle crashes into and goes underneath the large truck or trailer.
In these accidents, usually, the top of the car is crumpled or simply ripped off and the occupants suffer severe head injuries or may even be decapitated. The federal government mandated rear guards on trucks and trailers to prevent these type of under-ride accidents. But the rear guards known as ICC bumpers (Interstate Commerce Commission) are typically defective and often ineffective. They are still too high above the road, too narrow and too flimsy to prevent these accidents that often cause catastrophic injuries.
In 1991, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a safety standard to require safer guards, but that requirement only applies to new trailers effective January 1998. There are still several semis and big-rigs on the road that go under the radar of this mandate and still continue to have that old, defective design.
The victim’s family would benefit from the services of an experienced auto product liability attorney who will investigate the accident thoroughly and independently. The initial investigation reports are not always accurate. It is absolutely important for victims and their families to find out exactly what caused their injuries and who was at fault.