We are Working to Prevent Underride Crashes Like This One that Killed a Cleveland Teacher

On November 3rd, Danielle Chronister, a 33-year-old teacher for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District was killed in a crosswalk by a dump truck.  This beloved teacher was struck as the dump truck was turning right from East 21st street onto Chester Avenue.  She was knocked to the ground and the truck’s rear tires ran over her.  This crash was preventable and likely survivable if the dump truck had been equipped with lateral protection devices (side guards).

Side underride guards are a simple safety device designed to keep pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck’s rear wheels in a side-impact collision.  Due to the high ground clearance of a large vehicle, vulnerable road users can fall into the exposed space between the front and rear tires.  Side guards work to cover that exposed space to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from being swept underneath the truck and crushed by the rear tires.

The Law Firm for Truck Safety partner Andy Young explains more about side guards in this YouTube video.

Our law firm helped initiate a side guard pilot program in the City of Cleveland by advocating for and providing financing for side guards that have been installed on City garbage trucks.  The City of Cleveland matched our law firm’s financial contribution allowing for a total of ten City garbage trucks to now have side guard protection.

Photo taken on September 18, 2021 by Andy Young at Bike Cleveland’s memorial bike ride for Sylvia Bingham. Sylvia died in a side underride crash involving a box truck on September 15, 2009. Volunteers from our law firm have attended Sylvia’s memorial bike ride for several years.

This photograph shows one of our law firm’s sponsored garbage trucks that now has a side underride guard. The side guards feature a Vision Zero Cleveland placard.  The purpose behind Vision Zero is to eliminate (or bring to zero) serious injuries and deaths due to traffic violence.  The Law Firm for Truck Safety is a partner of Vision Zero Cleveland initiative. We are grateful that our firm’s attorney Andy Young has been volunteering on the Vision Zero Task Force since its inception.

While the dump truck driver should have seen Danielle Chronister and avoided striking her in the first place, the fact that she went under the dump truck during the collision was the likely cause of her death.  It is the underride that kills, not just the crash itself.  Had the dump truck been equipped with side underride protection, we believe Danielle Chronister would likely still be with us and continuing her work educating Cleveland’s youth.  Side guards like the one photographed below have been required in England for over 30 years.

Photo taken by Andy Young at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, England on April 15, 2015. This photo shows a dump truck with side guards.

For years, our attorneys have held the honor of representing victims and families and have filedlawsuits on their behalf to hold truck drivers and truck companies accountable for their negligence. We have also been working with underride crash victims and survivors across the country advocating for mandatory side guard laws. Our partner Andy Young testified before Congress to help educate lawmakers on the urgency to solve the life-or-death consequences of side underride crashes.  Please click this link to see Andy’s written congressional testimony.  Please talk to your elected representatives and lawmakers about the importance of side underride guards.

Feel free to call us at 1-800-628-4500 if you or a family member need representation for a truck crash that involved an underride. We can also put you in touch with organizations who need volunteer time and money to fight underrides.

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