Action 9 investigates big rig safety flaw



ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 investigated a safety device on big rigs that can fail and put drivers at risk with deadly results.

A new study shows how under-ride guards can routinely fail, but federal regulators have been slow to respond.

Destiny Carl, a Winter Park woman, was killed just two months ago. Her car didn't stand a chance when it plowed into the rear of a big rig near Orlando. The 22-year-old died at the scene.

Ruth Myers was killed at a Lake County intersection when the car she was in rammed the back end of a tractor-trailer.

In both accidents, the same question arose: Did the under-ride guard fail to save lives?

An emotional Doyle Myers still can't recall how he lost control. His wife died in the hospital.

"I told her I was sorry this happened," Myers said.

Doyle and his daughter believe an under-ride guard could not stop the passenger side of the car from sliding under.

"It broke two bones in her neck, eight ribs, and punctured her lung," said Myers.

Since the 1950's, federal regulations require bars to block cars to prevent vehicles from being crushed.

"There's not a whole lot of protection there, you're going to have serious injuries and deaths," said auto expert Jay Zembower.

Action 9 examined Central Florida accident reports since 2008, and found six deaths in rear-end trailer accidents.

Just two months before the Orlando deadly crash, a new study said the device failed at alarming rates.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found cars are hitting at an angle where risk is most high.

The IIHS wants federal regulators to follow Canada's lead and require larger, stronger bars that block cars.

"I don't understand what is taking so long after all these deaths, I don't understand," said Sharon Bell, Ruth Meyer's daughter.

The National Highway Safety Administration told Action 9 it's aware of the serious issue, and it's developing safety improvements.

The Truck Trailers Association has said it supports research to reduce injuries and deaths.