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Advocates for Truck Safety Hold Underride Roundtable and Crash Test at IIHS

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Test car crashing into underride Test car crashing into underride
Test car, with test dummy after crash simulation Test car, with test dummy after crash simulation
Randy and Laurie Higgingbotham Randy and Laurie Higgingbotham
David Zuby with IIHS David Zuby with IIHS
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Advocates for truck safety are coming together to find ways to reduce truck underride deaths and injuries. 

They took part in a national forum at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Greene County on August 29.

The Truck Safety Coalition joined IIHS and the nonprofit Annaleah and Mary for Truck Safety for a roundtable discussion and crash test.

The event was especially important for those who lost loved ones to this type of crash.

Randy and Laurie Higgingbotham joined the Truck Safety Coalition after their 33-year-old son, Michael, lost his life in a truck underride crash in Memphis, Tennessee. They say they are going to do everything they can to help push for truck safety so that other families do not to suffer what they suffered.

"They've {Truck Safety Coalition} been big supporters in our grief and moving forward," said Randy Higginbotham. 

Safety advocates, government, and industry leaders gathered to watch the crash test at the event.

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu test car traveled at 40 miles an hour and crashed into the side of a test truck. During the test, the car did not pass under the truck because it was equipped with a side underride guard. That guard prevented the worst possible damage from a truck underride crash, which results in serious injury.

"A few months earlier we had done a 35 miles an hour crash with the same type of Chevrolet Malibu into a truck that only had an aerodynamic deflector, no back up for it, and the car passed completely underneath the vehicle and the dummy's head smashed straight into the side of the trailer,” said David Zuby with IIHS. 

"When you have a side underride with no barriers there, you just go completely under,” said Randy Higginbotham. 

Leading safety advocates are working with senate members to push for legislation to mandate that truck trailers to be equipped with this kind of protection.

In the U.S., there are nearly 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries from highway truck crashes each year.

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