Two women are traveling across the state to raise awareness of Underrides

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - More than 300 people are killed each year in one of the most devastating traffic accidents. It is when a passenger car slides underneath a semi truck's trailer.

U.S. regulators have been debating for decades the topic of underride deaths.

Tractor-trailers are required to have rear guards. But right now, there is no law requiring side guards.

Two women have been traveling across the state of South Dakota to raise awareness of this issue.

Lois Durso lost her daughter thirteen years ago.

"My daughter, she was the light of my life," she said. "She was a spectacular young woman who was funny and personable, and very, very smart."

Her newly engaged daughter was killed when the car she was in slid underneath the trailer of a truck.

That sparked a drive for the mother to raise awareness and get a law passed that requires side guards.

"It's not the crash that kills, it's the underride," she said. "And we can make these kinds of accidents more survivable."

Senator John Thune has been a chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee since 2015. The committee works on issues regarding traffic regulations.

"Obviously, any safety accident or safety incident we'll do everything we can to prevent it. The authority exists on the Department of Transportation to require that."

These two mothers are fighting to remind members of the committee that this law is sitting on their desks.

The biggest issue they face is the potential cost to truckers.

"The cost that is associated with that obviously is a big issue," Sen. Thune said. "And there are also, I think, as they look at these things, other safety issues come into play, as well. So, sometimes when you tweak one thing or fix one problem, you create others."

But, the committee and those in favor of the proposal want to work together to find a solution.

"I think as they evaluate and examine this proposal they're trying to do it in a way that makes sense and find the right balance in terms of the path forward," Sen. Thune said.

"I would say let's just work together and come up with some solutions," Durso said.

Senator Thune says there have not been any proposals that would cost the taxpayers. He says truckers would have to pay for the changes.