Sen. Schumer calling for safety enhancements following fatal pileup on I-90

Local News

DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following a fatal pileup on I-90 last month, Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for changes.

On Tuesday afternoon, Schumer called for underride guards to be placed on tractor trailers, in order to better protect other drivers.

64-year-old Elba resident Edward “Eto” Torres was pronounced dead at ECMC after a pileup involving dozens of vehicles. Torres was traveling behind a tractor-trailer before he struck the back of the truck.

“Underride guards are a proven technology that will save lives and make our roads safer,” Schumer said. “We all know the roads can be treacherous during a WNY snowstorm. Drivers trying to get to work or bring their children to school should not have to worry about truck safety standards that are lacking. Eto Torres was a good man, a family man, and he could have been better protected if the truck he collided with was equipped with underride guards.  The devastation of crashes like these – a result of a gap in truck safety standards – could be reduced. The reality is underride guards on trucks can help save lives, which is why I am a proud supporter of the bipartisan legislation that develops and enforces new and improved safety standards for trucks. We need to make sure we’re doing everything possible to make our roads as safe as possible, and to ensure that no other family, like Eto’s, has to suffer the pain of such a tragic loss.”

Here is what the Stop Underrides Act of 2017 calls for, according to Schumer’s office:

  • Update the truck rear underride guard standard. The current standards for rear underride guards are outdated and do not work as effectively with modern vehicles now equipped with crumple zones and airbag deployment sensors.
  • Require trucks be equipped with side and front underride guards. Side and front underride guards are currently not required on trucks, but research has demonstrated considerable driver and passenger safety improvements.
  • Inspection and Review of Underride Standards. As a part of the inspection, all large trucks would be checked for properly installed underride guards. Underride standards are not routinely reviewed and need to be re-evaluated in response to advancements in vehicle technology.”

But some trucking companies might not be so quick to accept new rules. The NTEA is a trade group which represents those companies. Its executive director says they have concerns.

“NTEA remains concerned as to the implications of the legislation and continues to monitor the data and insight provided by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) which already has rulemaking under consideration on this complex issue,” said Executive Director Steve Carey. “The proposed legislation is very broad and doesn’t take into account the complex design differences and crash involvement rates of different vehicle types.”

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