WINSTON-SALEM - Over the last five years, across the United States more than 1,700 people have died from colliding with the side of tractor trailers and then falling under the wheels.

"Tractor trailers are about 4-percent of the total vehicles on the road yet they count for 11-percent of bicycle fatalities and 7-percent of pedestrian fatalities," said Dre Fleury, the Chief Legal Officer for Crumley Roberts. 

Now, community members throughout North Carolina are coming together to advocate for the installation of side underride safety guards.

"Side underride guards are pieces of metal that go along the side of the trailer part of a tractor trailer and they go down to the ground about 12-inches above it," said Fleury. "This safety tool prevents vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles from going under the wheels."

Right now in the  United States, rear underride guards are required, but side guards are not. Fleury and others hope to change that.

"Reach out to your local city council and let them know this is an important thing and it's something we can do to keep people safe out there," said cyclist representative Michael Hosey. 

So far, Fleury has talked to Charlotte City Council members and would like to reach out to all of the major cities across our state within the next 12 months.

"The key for city councils, I think, is to require that all new trailers the city themselves purchase, or new dump trucks, come equipt with these and then by sometime in the near future get something on the books that says anyone the city has a contract with needs to upfit their trucks with these as well," said Fleury. 

Fleury said the average cost to install the safety equipment on tractor trailers in the U.S. is anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. 

You can voice your opinion by participating in this poll.