By Brendan McLaughlin
May 4, 2012
LEESBURG, Fla. – Sieni Eberhardt is haunted by trucks.
“If I drive on the road, I will see a truck. I will speed up just to get away from it,” said Eberhardt. “All I see is him under that truck.”
Her husband, a Riviera Beach police officer, was killed in 2001 when he drove into a stopped tractor-trailer truck on a dark road.
Donald Eberhardt, 32, left behind two children.
“He was not there,” said the widow, wiping away a tear. “He was not there for me and my kids.”
Officer Eberhardt was one of the more than 400 drivers and passengers who are killed on average every year in what’s called an under-ride collision. About 5,000 more are injured.
Crash tests by the insurance industry have shown the devastating outcome of a standard passenger car colliding with the rear of a tractor trailer.
“A guard can still fail in a crash test with a speed as low as 30 or 35 miles an hour,” said Matthew Brumbelow, senior research engineer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.