Articles Posted in Truck Accident

Truck accidents are often caused by driver mistakes and inattention, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The study reviewed data from truck crashes that caused death or injury between 2001 and 2003.

The study found that brake problems in trucks accounted for nearly one-third of truck crashes during those years. Following close behind were speeding drivers, who were responsible for 23 percent of the crashes. Drivers who were unfamiliar with upcoming road conditions accounted for 20 percent of the total, and drivers using over-the-counter drugs made up another 17 percent. Drivers’ failure to pay proper attention to the road, fatigue, and feeling under pressure from their employers, all accounted for another large share of big rig crashes. FMCSA notes that many truck crashes may have had multiple causes.

FMCSA also compared the truck driver data with information about passenger cars that had collided with the trucks in the study. The data showed that alcohol use, fatigue, and illness on the part of the cars’ drivers made collisions with an improperly operated truck even more likely, since such drivers were less able to drive defensively to protect themselves from the accident.

The Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was tied up recently as two tractor-trailers crashed into one another, resulting in a fire and a complete blocking of the roadway between Lansdale and Quakertown. Based on an nbcphiladelphia.com article, the Turnpike was blocked completely for about three hours, after which police and fire crews managed to open one lane to allow traffic that had been trapped for the entire three hours to squeeze through and exit the Turnpike.

The accident in Pennsylvania occurred as one tractor-trailer rear-ended the other. One of the two trucks was carrying a load of lumber, which caught fire and scattered across all lanes of the Turnpike. The driver of the truck carrying the lumber was injured in the accident.

On average, automobile accidents involving large trucks account for over 100,000 injuries on United States roadways each year. About 35% of these injuries are severe and life-altering. Approximately 5,000 deaths occur each year in tractor-trailer crashes. Although large trucks make up only three percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, they are responsible for over one-quarter of all vehicle-related deaths. The size and weight of large trucks increases the danger to other motorists who must share the roadways with them. This is particularly true when truck drivers are driving while fatigued, driving in unsafe ways, or hauling over sized loads, all of which may be negligent behavior.

It was reported on the website sfexaminer.com that families of the 10 people killed when a semi truck smashed into stopped cars on the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma have decided to file a joint lawsuit against several defendants. The defendants mentioned in the lawsuit are the driver of the truck, his employer, Associated Wholesale Grocers, ACE American Insurance located in Pennsylvania, G.D. Transport out of California, their insurer National Liability and Fire Insurance Co. located in Nebraska, Rajeev Sharma a resident of California, and Erin Alf who is from Texas.

At approximately 1:15 p.m., the 73-year-old truck driver slammed his big rig into the cars while cruising at 70 miles per hour. Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that the driver made no attempt to avoid the devastating collision. The lawsuit contends that the driver was rushed by his employer Associated Wholesale Grocers to make a delivery and forced him to work beyond what is deemed safe and lawful. The two residents mentioned in the truck accident lawsuit were the drivers of another tractor trailer involved in the collision that had stopped traffic on the turnpike when unfortunately the worst case scenario occurred. G.D. Transport is their employer and they are accused of not training their drivers properly.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said the grieving families acted this way as “a means of obtaining efficiency and economy in the administration and handling of the case, and demonstrates the enormity and gravity of the loss, and harm caused.”
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The website post-gazette.com reported that another big rig accident on route 22 in West Wheatfield claimed the life of an 82 year old man from Apollo, in Armstrong County. The man suffered serious injuries according to the authorities. He was immediately taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he was later pronounced dead of multiple traumatic injuries according to the Cambria Country Deputy Coroner. State police said the 82 year old man crossed over to oncoming traffic and hit the semi truck. The man stood no chance of surviving the impact, and there was a third vehicle involved which ran over a tire that became loose from the truck accident in Pennsylvania. That driver suffered minor injuries.

Accidents involving trucks account for over 130,000 injuries in the United States. There are 5,000 deaths each year and close to 35% of the injuries are catastrophic. Trucks over 10,000 pounds (semis and tractor-trailer) represent only 3% of all registered vehicles but are responsible for over 25% of vehicle related deaths. The most common causes of truck accidents are unsafe driving, driver fatigue, oversized loads and mechanical negligence.
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The website philly.com reported in an article on March 17, 2009 that a semi truck had been cited time and time again for faulty brakes and operating with a falsified inspection sticker purchased at a Philadelphia shop. This truck crashed into stopped traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway in Janury, killing David Schreffler, father of three. The investigation of the Pennsylvania truck accident lasted seven weeks and now the driver Valerijs Belovs, 55, of Northeast Philadelphia is being charged with vehicular homicide.

Along with Belovs, the co-owner of the 18 wheeler and a garage owner were charged with vehicular homicide, which authorities say is rare in these cases but shows how seriously they are taking the case. All three are now sitting in jail.

Risa Vetri Ferman, Montgomery County District Attorney, stated that the auto accident in Philadelphia should serve as a wake-up call. She said, “It’s a death machine. The take-away is that these machines are all over the road, and people are going to get killed.”

The dailyamerican.com website reported in a story on March 22, 2009 that in Wind Gap Pennsylvania a big rig transporting hazardous chemicals overturned causing the authorities to order an evacuation of the potentially affected area. Raymond LeBlanc, 54 of Ontario told investigators that he swerved in an attempt to not hit a deer, which he avoided, but the end result was the overturned truck.

The truck accident in Pennsylvania happened while the truck was going downhill and going through a modest curve on Route 33. LeBlanc and his co-driver were treated for minor injuries.

State police stated the chemical truck was on its way to Philadelphia from Ontario and that its load consisted of 33,000 pounds of corrosive hydrofluoric acid used for home detergents.

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