Semi Trucks Are Essential, But They Can Cause Big Crashes
Our interstates, county highways and local roads are full of trucks which are essential to carry the goods and merchandise that we and our area businesses need every day which are essential to our lifestyles, but simply due to their huge size and weight, they can cause the biggest crashes, injuries and deaths on the road of any vehicle.
Just yesterday I wrote about the increased rate of fatalities on our roads, and how only about 10% of those were caused by trucks, and this morning the news reported a big truck crash on Interstate 44 involving 6 trucks and 2 private vehicles. The details are not yet available, but the preliminary information indicates that it all started when one truck driver lost control and went into the ditch. I’d be interested in learning whether carelessness by one or more of the drivers contributed to each other to cause this catastrophe and loss of another innocent life on our roads. We must always keep a safe following distance from other vehicles in case someone loses control so we can maintain control of our vehicle and avoid hitting others. This is called “space management” which is taught in truck driving school. Big trucks require specialized training and skills for safe driving.
This is why the FMCSA, Federal Motor Carrier *Safety* Administration was created; to keep our roadways safe for everyone. Not everyone can or should operate a trucking company. It takes a lot of work to run a *safe* trucking company.
Coincidentally, just yesterday, my firm helped get my client’s case settled for her son who was killed by a terribly unsafe trucking company which hired a terribly unskilled and unsafe driver. The owner started the company simply as an opportunity to make some quick profits, but found it was not that easy. The trucking company hired a driver without proper investigation, failed to train him, and failed to supervise him after repeated notice that he did not know what he was doing. As a solo driver, in his log books, he would report that he went to bed in one city and woke up almost 200 miles away in a different city. We found out he was using 2 different log books. It was obvious to us but he trucking company claimed it never noticed the differences in the log book pages. When we averaged the reported mileage driven on a given day with the time, the average speed often exceeded 80mph, and the trucking company still kept this driver on the road in its trucks. Ultimately, this driver gambled trying to beat a yellow light, downhill, fully loaded…. But it turned red, and he kept driving, and only hit the brakes 2 seconds before he slammed into the minivan’s driver’s door. Of course, the defense denied all liability and the driver testified exactly opposite compared to what he told the investigating state troopers immediately after the crash. We pushed the case all the way to weeks before trial and finally were able to get the case settled on our terms.
So, in conclusion, pay attention to trucks; give them space; the drivers have a tough job to do; the trucking companies have a tough job to do; but nothing excuses either from making sure they are always safe to prevent harm to all of us every day on all our roads.