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Mother fights for tractor-trailer underride protections

NOW: Mother fights for tractor-trailer underride protections

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WASHINGTON (CBS) Some of the most serious accidents on the road happen when a car collides with the side a tractor trailer. One mother has been pushing for new safety measures since losing her daughter.

This demonstration in Washington shows how the vehicle travels under the trailer, crushing the roof. It's estimated underride crashes kill around 200 people every year, but experts say it could be much more.
Lois Durso lost her daughter Roya in 2004 when the 26-year-old's vehicle slammed into the side of a semi.

"Underride is a big problem in this country, it's been going on for decades and it's time to do something about it," Durso said. She has joined safety advocates who are pushing lawmakers to pass legislation that would require tractor trailers to have guards or safety strips.

"These crashes and the injuries and deaths that result are completely avoidable," said David Friedman with Consumer Reports. He says the measure can stop a car from going underneath, preventing severe damage. "You need big companies and Congress to step up and ensure that this technology is on every truck in America."

There are currently laws requiring rear guards. Supporters want the same for the side, but the safety measure would add weight to a tractor trailer, increasing costs for manufacturers and truckers.

The Truck Trailers Manufacturers Association declined to comment for this story.

"We want to make sure that people don't die," Durso said. She has started an organization called StopUnderrides.org and believes if side guards were in place during her daughter's crash she would be alive today.

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