A tractor trailer hauling two heavy duty boat engines hit an overpass causing the engines to topple over onto a car that was stopped in the next lane.
According to miamiherald.com, the driver of the car, a late model silver Honda Accord, survived the horrific accident without injuries and was able to walk away.
Witnesses to the crash, who were on their way to a Taylor Swift Concert at the nearby American Airlines Arena, were startled by the loud sound of the engines first crashing into the overpass and then onto the Honda. While some described the sound like an explosion, others referred to it like an "earthquake." One of the witnesses, Michael Mesa, turned to look as soon as he heard the impact of the engines against the overpass and actually saw the engines fall off the truck and land on the top of the car.
Height Limitation for Tractor-Trailers
There are no specific federal regulations limiting the height of commercial trucks. Truck drivers need to know the height of their truck and cargo, and map out a route that does not involve bridges or overpasses that are not high enough or wide enough. When a driver encounters an overpass, wires or other overhead obstruction (toll booths are an example,) it is the driver's responsibility to stop his rig and not proceed. Overpasses usually have their height clearly marked so that drivers can see it before passing underneath. Typically there are road signs warning truckers of an upcoming low bridge situated at point where the trucker still has time to change his route or stop.
Florida Statute 316.515 (2) establishes that no truck shall exceed the height of 13 feet, 6 inches, including the load it is carrying at anytime. There is an exception in the statute for trucks carrying motor vehicles, which are allowed to reach a height of 14 feet, inclusive of the cargo.
We do not know what was the over-all height of the truck and its cargo in this particular case. The bridge that was struck should have had an overpass warning sign displayed, but, for some reason, it did not have a warning sign. Therefore, it is unclear whether any charges will be filed against the trucker.
Liability for Damages
It is important to note that while no charges may be filed against the truck driver, the trucking company and its insurance carrier may be responsible for the damages caused to the Honda Accord. Similarly, they could have been liable for any injuries that might have been suffered by the Honda's driver. In a case such as this, as in any accident case, a driver who is injured as a result of the negligence of another should contact experienced truck accidents lawyers like those from the Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A., as soon as possible following the collision.
Our firm has handled hundreds of trucking cases, some in which the victims have suffered devastating injuries. For example, we represented a young lady who's Honda Civic went under a large eighteen-wheeler that made an improper U-turn in front of her car. The car was left unrecognizable and the young woman had to be cut out of the car by fire rescue and airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as other orthopedic injuries. To learn more about a few of the trucking cases we have successfully handled over the years, please go to the Notable Cases section of our website.
A tractor trailer hauling two heavy duty boat engines hit an overpass causing the engines to topple over onto a car that was stopped in the next lane.
The driver of a tractor-trailer who seemingly fell asleep at the wheel is in critical condition after sustaining third degree burns over 60 percent of his body from the crash . According to mahwah.patch.com, 64-year-old Clarence J. Belton, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, likely fell asleep at the wheel of his eighteen-wheeler, veering of the road late at night last Tuesday. Belton's truck subsequently struck another tractor-trailer hat was parked on the shoulder, broke through the guardrail and drove into the woods.
Truck Caught Fire
At some point during the accident, the fuel tanks of the eighteen-wheeler were punctured and the truck caught fire, with both the vehicle and the driver ending up completely engulfed in flames. By the time police arrived, Mr. Belton had managed to crawl out of his truck and was lying on the ground in flames from his chest down. Police Sgt. Rob Curtis used a fire extinguisher to put Mr. Belton's fire out, noting that by then he had suffered third degree burns to 60 percent of his body from his chest to his feet.
By Wednesday morning firefighters had put out the fire, but not before it had completely destroyed the eighteen-wheeler, which was hauling milk cartons. the fire spread to the near by woods surrounding the accident scene.
Driver fatigue is a common occurrence in eighteen-wheeler accidents. Truckers stay behind the wheel for more hours than they are allowed to by law and more than they should. once tired drivers often fall asleep. Throughout our many years of practice we have seen crashes happen time and again due to fatigue . Typically, jobs that are supposed to be handled by two drivers, are handled by one driver because they don't want to split the money that the trucking company is paying for a particular trip between two. Since they don't have a back-up driver to help them handle the extra hours, they have to stay behind the wheel for more hours than they should, get tired and fall asleep. This situation is usually aggravated when the company sets an unreasonable delivery schedule, making it more difficult for the driver to rest as much as he needs.
We cannot help but wonder whether the delivery schedule for this particular truck-load was reasonable. In our many years of experience handling commercial truck accident cases, we have seen trucking companies set unreasonable delivery schedules for their trucks, forcing their drivers to drive far longer hours than they legally should, all in the name of profit. It would not be the first time we see greed propel tractor-trailer drivers to drive far more hours than they should until fatigue sets in and an accident happens. However, as we've said before, the blame should not be placed solely on the truck drivers: trucking companies and their freight forwarding clients should not be allowed to set delivery schedules that cannot be met unless the truck drivers break the rules. Consequently, these drivers are prompted to continuously drive for so many hours that they end up falling asleep and causing this kind of accidents.
We frequently report on tractor-trailer accidents caused by circumstances similar to those in this case. For example, in our post of October 15, 2012, we talk about another eighteen-wheeler accident in which two people were killed after a truck driver apparently fell asleep and rear-ended their vehicles.
Of course, these accident not only happen when truck drivers fall asleep. In our post of November 15, 2012, we reported about a commercial truck accident were several vehicles were rear-ended by a trucker distracted while using his cell phone.
We recently reported on two cases where the faulty brakes of two separate South Florida tractor-trailers caused accidents in which people lost their lives.
Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has released the results of its investigation into another horrible accident that took place in northern Nevada last year, when an eighteen-wheeler with faulty brakes and an inattentive truck driver with a history of speeding violations crashed his commercial truck into an Amtrak train, causing the death of six people.
Driver Fatigue and Poor Maintenance
The NTSB has found that the driver, Larry Valli, 43, (who was killed along with the train's conductor and four train passengers), didn't notice the train because he was fatigued due to an irregular sleeping pattern. Additionally, the NTSB found that Mr. Valli was suffering from ankle pain and/or he could have been checking messages on his cellphone...However, there was not enough evidence of any of these findings to include them in the formal probable cause finding issued at a hearing in Washington.
One important finding was spelled out by NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman who said that: "This accident could have easily been prevented if the driver (tractor-trailer) had acted appropriately or the motor carrier had acted responsibly in maintaining the vehicle."
As the train approached the crossing at U.S. Highway 95 north of Fallon, the engineer noticed that a semi-truck didn't seem to be slowing for the oncoming train. With the train whistle blaring, the engineer applied the emergency brakes about 450 feet from the crossing, not nearly enough distance in order to stop a train traveling at 77 MPH. On the other hand, skid marks at the scene showed that the trucks brakes engaged 300 feet from the tracks causing the truck to skid nearly the length of a football field into the side of the train. Had the brakes been properly maintained, the truck should have stopped in time to avoid the collision.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is a common occurrence in eighteen-wheeler accidents. Drivers stay behind the wheel for a longer time than they should, get tired and fall asleep. The law clearly sets forth how many hours a driver may drive and how much and how often he/she must rest and sleep. Logs are required to be kept detailing a driver's time both behind the wheel and when they are not behind the wheel. We have seen it happen time and again throughout our many years of practice. Very often, jobs that are supposed to be handled by two drivers, are handled by one driver because that driver does not want to split income with someone else. Some driver's are paid by the mile, some by the load, which entice driver's to drive more than the legal number of hours allowed in order to earn more money or meet deadlines. The ensuing fatigue causes slower reaction time and even causes drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel causing accidents like the one in question.
Similarly, we have seen how trucking companies neglect to give adequate maintenance to their fleet, in some cases just to save a few dollars, making a decision that would cost the health and lives of innocent victims. Truck tires, brakes, lights, etc must be maintained in order to minimize the possibility of failure. Consequently, the trucking company and it's officials may face criminal and civil liability if it is shown that logs were "doctored," maintenance neglected and Federal Rules regarding Interstate Trucking violated.
The SunSentinel.com reports that a local tractor-trailer loaded with oranges has caused an accident most likely due to faulty brakes, costing the lives of two construction workers on a Maryland highway this week.
In this case, 34-year-old Watson Pierre of Sunrise drove a truck owned by Noble Enterprise Transport of Pompano Beach. According to police, the truck was not registered to operate in the State of Maryland and the preliminary investigation found that three of its 10 brakes were not working and three others were out of adjustment. Pierre was northbound on Route 75 in Monrovia when the truck rounded a curve and overturned, crushing a southbound pickup truck and killing two of its occupants: the driver, 46-years-old Hector Henriquez of Gaithersburg and a passenger, 54-year-old Jose Diaz of Dearwood. A second passenger, 37-year-old Jose Cedillo was hospitalized and Pierre's co-driver, 42-year-old Erochenel Bernadin sustained minor injuries.
This is the second time in less than 30 days that a truck belonging to a local Florida company was involved in an accident due to defective brakes. On October 19th, a Hollywood based tractor-trailer careened into nine vehicles, including two school buses and slammed into a house, narrowly missing the homeowner, 47-year-old Linda Witherspoon and her two children, ages 5 and 6 who she somehow managed to get out of the way as she saw the truck coming at her house through her kitchen window.
The trucks involved in these two accidents had over 200 safety code violations between them. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that ABC, the company that owns the truck involved in the October accident, had 180 vehicle safety violations in the past year, involving wheel fasteners, brakes and tires. On the other hand, Noble Enterprise had 56 such violations, also involving brakes, tires and steering, between May 2011 and October.
Truck Inadequately Maintained
As stated in the preceding paragraphs, an investigation by the Highway Patrol is underway. However, we are not surprised at the allegation that these eighteen-wheelers were not adequately maintained. Time and again we have seen how trucking companies neglect to give adequate maintenance to their fleet, in some cases just to save a few dollars. A decision that would cost the health and lives of innocent victims. The trucking company and it's officials may face criminal and civil liability and their loss will certainly be larger than whatever moneys they may have saved by not adequately maintaining their fleet.
A tour bus crashed into the departures overpass at Miami International Airport, killing two passengers and injuring many more. According to cnn.com, the bus driver drove into the lower level for arrivals, instead of the upper level for departures, which busses can clear, crashing into the 8 foot, 6 inch overpass.
Two Passengers Dead
Miami-Dade County police officers that were present at the scene at the time of the accident immediately took charge and started helping injured passengers off the bus, while firefighters arrived.
Unfortunately, one bus passenger died at the scene, with 31 other being subsequently transported to local hospitals. A second passenger died at the hospital. The two deceased passengers were identified as 86-years-old Serafin Castillo and 56-years-old Francisco Urana, both from Miami. The bus passengers were part of a Jehova's Witnesses congregation that had chartered the bus to take them to an assembly about 75 miles North, in West Palm Beach.
Bus Driver Not Familiar With Airport
According to police, despite traffic signs clearly marking vehicle height restrictions in the airport, the bus driver (who is among those injured), drove under the overpass, clearly miscalculating the height of the overpass and whether it could accommodate his bus. Witnesses claim that they told the bus driver that he had made a wrong turn taking the bus into the Airport and further warned him of the low height clearance. Obviously, he did not head the warnings and crashed the bus into the overpass early Saturday morning.
Tour Operators Responsible for Safety of Those They Transport
These bus companies are responsible for the safety of the passengers they transport. However, sometimes they fail to properly train their drivers, leading to deadly accidents like the one in question.
Accidents like this cause deaths. They also cause injuries that may require extensive rehabilitation therapy for the victims and some of these injured passengers may not have medical insurance. When that happens, their best bet lies with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling motor vehicle accident cases to help them make the tour bus operator and/or it's insurance carrier pay for their recovery.
Given our many years of experience handling this kind of accidents, we cannot help but wonder whether the bus company properly trained this driver. Time and again we have seen how bus and truck drivers are rushed into jobs without adequate training just because their employers need their services right away, without any consideration to the safety of others. Of course, an investigation is still underway, but should this proved to be a case a negligent training by the bus company, the lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. may be able to help.
Authorities are seeking a warrant for reckless homicide for the arrest of Vicente Virola Rodriguez, a tractor-trailer driver that rear-ended several vehicles earlier this year, including a minivan in which the victim, 4-year-old girl Jada Bennett of Myrtle Beach, was riding. According to myrtlebeachonline.com, the little girl was properly restrained seating in a child safety seat, but that did not help avoid the head trauma that caused her death.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed
According to authorities' final report on the accident, the driver of the tractor-trailer was distracted while using a cell phone and traveling too fast for conditions when he rear-ended the minivan the girl was in, as well as another vehicle.
Jada's mother, Miriam Bennett, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in August against the truck driver and Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc. According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Jada suffered severe physical pain, mental anguish and emotional distress realizing her impending death after the crash. Similarly, the suit continues, the family suffered pecuniary loss, loss of society and companionship, loss of moral guidance, emotional distress and grief, shock and sorrow following the crash and Jada's death, which was caused by the "negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, wanton and willful acts of Rodriguez and Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc."
Finally, the plaintiffs blame Rodriguez for failing to keep a proper lookout, for failing to keep proper control of the vehicle, for failing to apply or adequately maintain the brakes in his truck, for failing to take evasive action to avoid the crash and for failing to keep a safe distance from the vehicle(s) in front of him. Consequently, Miriam Bennett and her beneficiaries seek to recover actual and punitive damages, as well as court costs.
Driver Negligence and Inadequate Training
Throughout our firm's many years of practice, we have seen how trucking companies fail to properly train their drivers. Could this have been the case with Mr. Rodriguez? Was he aware of regulations that required him to keep a safe distance from the traffic ahead of him? Moreover, didn't Mr. Rodriguez realize that given the size and weight of his rig, he should pull over to safely make the call? Was he on a tight schedule set by Hartt Transportation Systems?
Hopefully the investigation will determine why Mr. Rodriguez was on the phone while driving such a heavy rig in heavy traffic. Yet, we cannot help but wonder if he was adequately trained or if Hartt Transportation Systems set a schedule so tight that would not allow for him to pull over and make that call without making a late delivery that could subject him to penalties.
According to bloomingdale.patch.com, the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 were closed after the driver of a tractor-trailer, Julio Rosario Alicea, a 45-year-old resident of Riverview, improperly changed from the inside to the outside lanes and hit a 2007 Toyota Prius driven by Thea Moore, a 40-year-old resident of Wesley Chapel.
Apparently, after striking Ms. Moore's vehicle, Mr. Alicea over-corrected to the left, then to the right, causing his vehicle to overturn and hit the guardrail. Thankfully, neither Alicea, Moore nor a 4-year-old occupant of her vehicle were injured. However, traffic was closed on the southbound lanes for two hours.
Mr. Alicea was cited for an improper lane change and the Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the circumstances of this accident.
Driver Negligence or Inadequate Training?
Throughout our firm's many years of practice, we have seen how trucking companies fail to properly train their drivers. Could this have been the case with Mr. Alicea? Was he aware of regulations that required him to make sure there are no vehicles occupying the lane he intends to move to and to signal his intention to change lanes with sufficient time for any vehicles in that lane to slow down and allow him to switch or speed up and get out of his way?
Hopefully the investigation will determine why Mr. Alicea failed to comply with the trucking rules. Yet, we cannot help but wonder if he was adequately trained.
Similarly, we know that driver fatigue is a common cause for eighteen-wheeler accidents. Drivers stay behind the wheel for a longer time than they should, get tired and drowsy, failing to notice a car sitting on the lane next to them. We have seen it happen time and again throughout our many years of practice. Frequently driver fatigue happens when jobs that are supposed to be handled by two drivers, are handled by one driver because that driver does not want to split with someone else what the trucking company is paying for that particular haul. Since these drivers do not have a back-up driver to help them handle the extra hours, they have no choice but to stay behind the wheel for more hours than they should. This is especially true when the driver's greed is coupled with an unreasonable delivery schedule set by the company, which does not allow for the driver to rest as much as he needs, forcing him to stay behind the wheel for longer hours than he should and making him drowsy and unable to avoid accidents like the one in question.
Of course it is too early to say with any degree of certainty why this particular driver failed to comply with the rules as the investigation has just begun. Yet, given our many years of experience handling commercial truck accident cases, we cannot help but wonder whether Mr. Alicea failed to notice Ms. Moore's car in the next lane just because he was too tired.
Two people are dead after their car was rear ended by an eighteen wheeler on U.S. 82. According to jacksonville.com, both the driver of the 1994 Ford Crown Victoria struck by the tractor-trailer, April McClaughlin Thornton, 32, and one of its passengers, 10-month-old Chase Kemp, died at the scene. Another passenger in the car, 48-year-old Mary Hill Rooks, was taken to Shands Hospital Jacksonville. The truck driver, Richard Anthony Davis, 31, and his passenger Loriane Davis, 39, were not injured.
Causes Yet Unknown
An investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol into the cause of this accident is still ongoing and we can only speculate about what happened. However, given our many years of experience handling accident cases involving large commercial and tractor trailer trucks, we cannot help but wonder whether driver fatigue played a role in this case. We have often seeing how drivers stay behind the wheel for more hours than they should, get tired and fall asleep. Even when they do not fall asleep, fatigue does not allow them to respond as fast as they need to emergency situations, something very dangerous when driving these large, heavy rigs.
Good Old Fashion Greed
Sometimes, jobs that are supposed to be handled by two drivers, are handled by one driver because that driver does not want to split with someone else what the trucking company is paying for that particular haul...Please note that the driver's companion in this case seems to be his wife, not a second driver. Since these drivers do not have a back-up driver to help them handle the extra hours, they have no choice but to stay behind the wheel for more hours than they should. This is especially true when the driver's greed is coupled with an unreasonable delivery schedule set by the company, which does not allow for the driver to rest as much as he needs and is required by law, forcing him to stay behind the wheel for longer hours than he should, allowing fatigue to set in and cause accidents like the one in question.
As if driver fatigue wasn't bad enough by itself, consider how much deadlier the situation gets when fatigue is combined with the increasingly larger size of these trucks...While the average length of a tractor-trailer in the sixties was about 40 feet, today they can be as long as 57 to 59 feet. The demand from trucking and shipping companies make truck manufacturers keep making them larger. The more merchandise trucking and shipping companies can move per truck, the larger their profit margin per trip. Consequently, as long as technology allows for these rigs to keep getting bigger, the bigger they will be built.
On the other hand, despite the technological safety advances of the average family car (safety cages, etc.), our smaller everyday vehicles do not stand a chance in a collision with one of these behemoths. While the truck driver and his companion suffered no injuries, two of the occupants of the passenger car died and another had to be taken to the hospital.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for more assertiveness by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the monitoring of fatigue management programs at the end of an investigation it conducted into a fatal bus crash accident last year.
According to truckinginfo.com, the crash that occurred on May 31, 2011 on I-95 in Virginia cost the lives of four bus passengers and serious injuries to 12 others. Among other findings, the report of the accident states that the bus driver suffered from acute sleep loss, poor sleep quality and disruption of his circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological process observed in all living things, from humans to trees. These rhythms are driven by a circadian or biological clock and it is curious to note that this accident happened at 4:55 am, the time of the 24 hours circadian oscillation (day) when the human body temperature is at its lowest and sleep at its deepest.
Similarly, the NTSB report found that the company that owns the bus, Sky Express, failed to "exercise even minimal oversight of its drivers' rest and sleep activities enabling the drivers to drive while dangerously fatigued".
Same Applies to Trucking Companies
More importantly, the NTSB report found that "Sky Express passed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration new entrant safety assurance audit despite safety shortcomings in its operation, which indicates the new entrant audit process is not always keeping unsafe carriers from entering the motor carrier industry".
This does not come as a surprise to the lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.. Throughout our many years of handling hundreds of truck accident cases, we have seen time and again not only how trucking companies routinely pass the new entry safety assurance tests of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (when subsequent investigations of accidents caused by their negligent operation show they shouldn't have been admitted), but how these trucking companies themselves prompt violations like those that caused this case.
The faster a load is delivered (or a trip completed), the larger the profit made by both the trucking company and the driver. Consequently, we have often seen how greed makes trucking companies set delivery schedules that force their drivers to remain behind the wheel for longer hours than they should.
The Florida Highway Patrol has issued a statement in which it largely places the blame for the deadly fiery car pile-up that cost the lives of 11 people on I-75 at Paynes Prairie, South of Gainesville. According to the huffingtonpost.com, the report rejects most of the findings of an earlier report by another Florida agency, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The crashes happened in the early morning hours in an unlit stretch of road where wildfire smoke mixed with fog. Prior to the deadly accidents, the Florida Highway Patrol had closed the road due to poor visibility. A while later a highway patrol officer overruled a recommendation made by another officer that the road remain closed and order it reopened. About half-hour later, the first of six separate fatal crashes began, involving at least a dozen cars, pickup trucks and a van, six semitrailer trucks and a motorhome. Some vehicles burst into flames, making it difficult to identify the dead. Eighteen other victims were hospitalized.
FDLE Report Slams FHP
Among other findings, the earlier report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement stated that:
- The Florida Highway Patrol didn't adhere to its policies on incidents involving smoke and fog, including consulting with the National Weather Service.
- After it reopened the highway, the Florida Highway Patrol failed to effectively monitor conditions of the interstate.
- There was a lack of signage, including electronic message boards, which prevented broadcasting updates to motorists.
The Florida Highway Patrol also placed much of the blame on the drivers involved in the accidents, claiming that the earlier report by the FDLE did not address driver behavior like not reducing their speed under conditions with such poor visibility, which caused collisions with other vehicles that had slowed down or stopped. Moreover, the Highway Patrol continues, the investigation confirmed alcohol and drug use by several drivers.
Parent Agency Sued
The parent agency for the Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, has received 13 notices of intent to file lawsuits by people injured at the accidents or relatives of those who died.
The Florida Highway Patrol has reported that the driver of a Freightliner tractor-trailer fell asleep at the wheel, causing his truck to crash through a guardrail after crossing two lanes of traffic. According to bensale.patch.com, the truck subsequently crossed the grass median and struck the southbound guardrail, overturning on its side and coming to rest facing North on the left lane of the southbound side on the freeway.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is a common occurrence in eighteen-wheeler accidents. Drivers stay behind the wheel for a longer time than they should, get tired and fall asleep. We have seen it happen time and again throughout our many years of practice. Very often, jobs that are supposed to be handled by two drivers, are handled by one driver because that driver does not want to split with someone else what the trucking company is paying for that particular haul...Since these drivers do not have a back-up driver to help them handle the extra hours, they have no choice but to stay behind the wheel for more hours than they should. This is especially true when the driver's greed is coupled with an unreasonable delivery schedule set by the company, which does not allow for the driver to rest as much as he needs, forcing him to stay behind the wheel for longer hours than he should, falling asleep and causing accidents like the one in question.
Of course it is too early to say with any degree of certainty why this particular driver fell asleep as the investigation has just begun. Yet, given our many years of experience handling commercial truck accident cases, we cannot help but wonder whether the delivery schedule for this particular truck load was reasonable. Over the years, we have seen trucking companies set unreasonable delivery schedules for their trucks, forcing their drivers to drive far longer hours than they legally should, all in the name of profit. It would not be the first time we see greed propel tractor-trailer drivers to drive far more hours than they should until fatigue sets in and an accident happens. Yet, as stated before, truck drivers are not the only ones to blame when this happens: trucking companies and their freight forwarding clients should not set delivery schedules that prompt these drivers to continuously drive for so many hours that they end up falling asleep and causing this kind of accidents.
The driver of a tractor-trailer that crashed with a pick up truck is dead. According to nj.com, an eighteen-wheeler carrying roof trusses on a flatbed trailer broadsided a pick up truck at an intersection controlled by stop signs, subsequently jackknifing into a tree and catching fire. The Fire Department had to be called to the scene to put out the fire, but by the time they arrived, it was too late for the truck driver.
Eighteen Wheeler Was Speeding
According to Linda Hagan, an eyewitness who was traveling behind the tractor-trailer, the commercial truck was traveling "super fast" when it passed her and that she lost sight of it as it went over a hill. Ms. Hagan continued saying that upon reaching the top of the hill, she found that the truck had struck a tree and was on fire.
Delivery Schedule Too Tight?
An investigation to determine the causes of this accident is still underway and it is therefore too early to place blame. However, given our many years of experience handling commercial truck accident cases, we cannot help but wonder whether the delivery schedule set by the trucking company played a role in this case. Time and again we have seen trucking companies create the circumstances that prompt these drivers' to drive too fast by setting delivery schedules that cannot be met unless the truckers break the rules.
Trucking companies whose drivers operate their vehicles in such negligent manners are liable for the damages, injuries and deaths that they cause. These trucking companies and their insurance companies promptly send their investigators to the scene of the accident and these investigators collect evidence that could otherwise be lost and even interview witnesses while the events in question are still fresh in their minds. Victims and close relatives of victims should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling this kind of cases and not allow these trucking companies and their insurance carriers benefit from the victim's inaction. You should have qualified lawyers and investigators working equally hard for you. Maybe the lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help.
Crashes involving large rigs continue to happen at an alarming rate throughout the roads of our nation. Whether it's a passenger car crashing into the back of an eighteen wheeler that stalled in the middle of a road, a large commercial truck that jack-knifes into the opposite traffic lanes and crashes with an SUV or a tractor trailer that spills its cargo of lumber over the road, these accidents are just a few examples of how dangerous our roads can be.
SUV Rear-Ends Stalled Eighteen Wheeler
A young boy is dead because the vehicle in which he was traveling rear-ended a tractor-trailer that had stalled half way between the shoulder and the middle of the road. According to woia.com, the impact sheared of part of the SUV in which the boy, together with his sister, was traveling. Both children were properly restrained, yet the impact cost Justin Kalak his life. Fortunately, his 5-year-old sister, Julianne Kalak survived with only minor injuries. Ramon Justo Alvarado, who is the children's grandfather and legal guardian, was driving the vehicle and had to be airlifted in critical condition to a local hospital.
Large Commercial Truck Cuts Across Highway
According to kltv.com, the driver of an eighteen-wheeler lost control, the tractor-trailer jack-knifed and slid into the opposite traffic lanes, where an SUV traveling in the opposite direction crashed into it. The driver of the SUV had to be transported to a local hospital. Additionally, the accident caused the highway to be closed for a number of hours.
Tractor-Trailer Loses Cargo on Highway
A recent report by cbslocal.com tells us about a tractor-trailer whose lumber cargo was spread all over a highway after the driver allegedly tried to avoid hitting a car that had cut him off. The truck ended up sprawled across several lanes with one of its saddle tanks damaged and spilling diesel fuel all over the highway. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it took hazardous materials crews several hours to clean up the mess.
Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the foregoing accidents are underway and they all seem like unavoidable, unforeseeable events. However, given our many years of experience handling cases involving large commercial trucks, we cannot help but wonder whether these accidents could have been avoided. For example, time and again we have seen trucking companies overload their trucks, load them incorrectly, or not secure the loads properly, all in the name of profit: the faster their truckers operate and the more cargo they haul, the larger their profit margin...
In other cases we have seen these same trucking companies fail to properly train their drivers. Maybe the death of Justin Kalak could have been avoided had the driver of the stalled truck promptly placed reflective triangles or other devices warning oncoming traffic of the disabled condition of his rig. Was he aware of regulations that required him to immediately place these devices around his truck in order to warn other drivers of the hazardous situation caused by his stopping in the middle of the road?
Probably the last thing on Frank Everette Reid's mind when he woke up on June 25, 2012 was that he was going to die that day in a horrific traffic accident caused by a tractor-trailer that failed to stop at a red light. Yet, that's exactly what happened according to dailyridge.com.
A 2002 Freightliner semi truck driven by Johnny Jose Fernandez Santos of Orlando, Florida, failed to stop at a red light and rear-ended Mr. Everett's Jeep Wrangler, which in turn rear-ended a Nissan Altima driven by Andrew Jimenez of Kissimmee, Florida. Both smaller passenger vehicles were pushed under a 2008 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer driven by Charles Earl Reberry of Vally Falls, Kansas. The magnitude of the impact was so great that it caused Mr. Reberry's eighteen-wheeler to rear end another large commercial truck that was stopped in front of it, a Peterbuilt Semi Tractor-trailer driven by Luton Anthony McKenzie of Winter Haven, Florida.
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding this terrible accident is under way. Yet, given our many years of experience dealing with traffic accidents involving these large rigs, we cannot help but wonder whether driver fatigue played a role here. We have often seen how tractor-trailer drivers are propelled by greed to drive far more hours that they should until they are so fatigued that an accident is unavoidable. Similarly, we've often found that trucking companies are the ones setting delivery schedules that cannot be met unless the truckers break the rules, a fact that in turn creates the circumstances that prompt the drivers' greed.
Trucks Are Larger Than Ever
Moreover, given the increasingly larger size of these trucks, the accidents they cause keep getting deadlier. The average length of a tractor-trailer in the sixties was about 40 feet, today they can be as long as 57 to 59 feet long. These trucks keep getting larger because there is a demand for larger trucks from trucking and shipping companies. The more merchandise they can move per truck, the larger their profit margin per trip. Consequently, as long as technology allows the companies that manufacture these rigs to make them larger, the larger they will be built.
Unfortunately, despite the technological safety advances of the average family car (safety cages, etc.), our smaller everyday vehicles do not stand a chance in a collision with one of these behemoths. While the drivers of the three tractor-trailers did not suffer any injuries, the driver of the Nissan Altima, Andrew Jimenez, and his two juvenile passengers had to be transported with minor injuries to Arnold Palmer Hospital. And, as stated before, Mr. Everett died at the scene.
Authorities are investigating a freak accident involving a runaway tire from an eighteen-wheeler that almost injured two people in Ocala. According to wftv.com, the tire flew off a tractor-trailer driven by William Harvey and landed on top of a car on Highway 27. The driver of this vehicle suffered only minor injuries, but was taken to a local hospital for further observation and evaluation.
After hitting the car on Highway 27, the tire rolled into a conference room at a local Ramada Inn, where it almost hit Bob Hurst, of The Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
Given our many years of experience handling commercial truck accident cases, we cannot help but wonder whether truck maintenance had anything to do with this accident. Time and again we have seen both tractor-trailer drivers and trucking companies rush their trucks into rotation faster than they should. Adequate maintenance ensures that trucks will operate as expected. Of course, the investigation has just started and it's too early to tell how the tire ended up falling off the truck.
There are many State and Federal safety and maintenance regulations that trucking companies have to comply with in order to operate their trucks on our roads. Yet, we have seen how trucking companies fail to maintain their vehicles as established by law and rush them into service just to be more profitable. Some of the most common violations are:
- Failure adequately maintain their trucks, which often includes running these tractors and trailers with worn out or defective tires;
- Not training their drivers adequately;
- Setting very tight delivery schedules that force drivers to work hours longer than those allowed by federal and state regulations, which causes driver fatigue; and
- Overloading and/or improperly loading trucks.
Trucking companies operating their vehicles in such negligent manners are liable for the damages, injuries and deaths that they cause. Victims and close relatives of victims should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling this kind of cases and not allow these trucking companies and their insurance carriers benefit from the victim's inaction. These trucking companies and their insurance companies promptly send their investigators to the scene of the accident and these investigators collect evidence that could otherwise be lost and even interview witnesses while the events in question are still fresh in their minds. You should have qualified lawyers and investigators working equally hard for you. Maybe we can help.