Actress Jayne Mansfield was famous for her sexy image. She starred in many movies in the 50’s and 60’s, won acting awards, and was one of the first Playmates. The Dallas resident studied at UT and SMU where I graduated in the 70’s.
But Mansfield is tragically remembered for the tragic tractor-trailer accident that killed her in 1967.
Mansfield was a passenger in a Buick that slammed into the back of an 18 wheeler. The car slid underneath the trailer’s carriage and killed her and two other adult passengers. She was only 34. Two other people died but miraculously her two children were not injured.
Her legacy survives today, not only in film and photographs, but every time you see a tractor-trailer. Her crash directly led to regulations requiring installation of red and white bars at the rear of semi-trucks. “Mansfield bars” are required on all tractor-trailers to stop cars from sliding underneath the truck.
But here’s the problem. Mansfield bars prevent under-ride in a medium impact rear-end collisions, such as occurred in Mansfield’s case. However, the bars aren’t often strong enough to stop high-impact crashes.
Nor are they required on the sides of trucks, so they don’t stop cars from sliding under from the side either.
Here’s a photo from a case I handled where my client was lucky to survive a crash with an 18 wheeler that suddenly cut in front of her.
Under-ride crashes are exactly as awful as the word implies. During a collision with a tractor-trailer, the car slides underneath the semi, either sheering off or crushing the top of the car. The occupants of the car don’t stand a chance.
But what if these under-ride collisions could be close to totally avoided?