A planned 41-mile highway stretch reserved for semi-trucks and other commercial trucks along Interstate 75 North in Georgia may relieve congestion and improve safety for drivers. It also will be the country’s first highway exclusively for trucks.
Work on the nearly $2 billion project between McDonough and Macon is set to begin in 2024 and completion expected by 2028. That is still seven years away, though, and highway traffic continues to frustrate and endanger drivers some of whom may become involved in serious underride collisions with big-rig trucks. Such accidents usually lead to catastrophic injuries or prove fatal.
Actress Jayne Mansfield killed in 1967
An underride accident occurs when a car slides or skids underneath a big-rig truck. The collisions can occur from the rear or side. Annually, about 200 roadway fatalities occur in underride collisions.
One of the most notable such accidents occurred in 1967 when actress Jayne Mansfield and two others were killed when their car crashed into the back of a slow-moving tractor trailer on a country road near New Orleans. Visibility conditions were poor during the early morning accident that spared the lives of Mansfield’s three young children in the backseat.
After Mansfield’s death, the U.S. government required that trailers install rear underride guards – steel bars that prevent cars from sliding underneath. While the official name is the Rear Underrun Protection System, this safety measure was soon dubbed “Mansfield bars.”
However, side guards on big-rig trucks still are not required, and victim advocates have long lobbied for improved measures. Rear and side underride guards can save lives.
With the planned I-75 North stretch just for large trucks, expect to see fewer accidents with big-rig trucks. And the truck-only highway also likely translates into the near elimination of underride collisions in that area.