Large Truck Accidents - Articles
September 11, 2014
A Santa Cruz family filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week after their son died in a crash on Highway 17.
The suit targets three trucking companies, a construction firm, and a truck owner who was involved in the crash, and it calls for stricter safety regulations in the trucking industry.
A big-rig driver hauling two tons of dirt lost control on July 10 while driving north on Highway 17 near Lexington Reservoir. The driver crashed into 10 vehicles, killing Daniel McGuire, 25, and injuring seven other people in the process.
“This tragic death could have happened to thousands of people who travel over Highway 17,” Doug McGuire, Daniel's father, said. “We are hoping to spearhead changes in the trucking industry so his life will not go wasted.”
The family's suit alleges insufficient training and supervision provided by Saini Bros. Trucking Inc. in Tracy, Charles F. Gagliasso Trucking Co. in Santa Clara, Assured Aggregates Co. Inc. in Salinas, and the truck ands trailer owner Surinder Banwait of Sacramento. Dan Chapin Co. in Salinas, the company for which the dirt was being haled, is also named in the suit.
According to Robert Allard of the law firm Corsiglia McMahon & Allard LLP, the lawsuit was filed in Monterey County because some of the trucking firms are based there. The lawsuit aims to send the message to the trucking industry that truckers need more experience before they haul loads along mountain roads.
Allard also said he wanted there to be new driver's license “tiers” suited to each individual trucker's experience. Should this go into practice, it could limit inexperienced truckers to specific load weights, or it could prevent them from driving on steep and mountainous highways.
“We thinks this falls on the trucking industry,” Allard said.
Allard said he intends on collaborating with state and federal legislators, such as U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, and state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, to enforce big-rig safety laws, should the trucking leaders fail to enhance the rules in a timely manner.
“We feel strongly that Daniel's death was a tragedy and unnecessary,” said Doug McGuire.
“We'd like to see some steps taken for change.”
Senate Mulls Mandatory Rest Periods for Truckers
June 19, 2014
The U.S. Senate is debating whether or not federal regulations that mandate nighttime rest periods for truck drivers should be repealed, with some senators supporting the current rules while others claim they have led to an increase in daytime accidents.
The current federal laws require truck drivers to rest for a minimum of 34 hours after a 70-hour work week, which must include two rest periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. in an attempt to ensure adequate rest during the nighttime. In addition, the current laws cap driving time to 11 hours in a row and require a half-hour break for every eight hours of driving.
Senators are now debating whether the current rules should be changed in the wake of a transportation, housing and urban development appropriations bill that contains a proposed amendment to suspend the existing rest requirements.
Some senators and truck driving groups advocate changing the rules, arguing that they force truck operators to drive during the busiest hours of the day, thereby causing more accidents. Others sendators and highway safety groups say the rules should remain in place, as they encourage drivers to get adequate rest during the night and prevent drowsy driving.
The problem of truck driver fatigue caught the attention of the nation recently after a Wal-Mart truck crashed into a limousine earlier this month, critically injuring comedian Tracy Morgan and killing comedian James McNair. The driver of the truck, Kevin Roper, admitted that he had not slept for over 24 hours prior to the crash.
FedEx Sued Over Deadly Bus Crash
April 23, 2014
FedEx Corp. has been sued by the mother of a student who was killed in a bus-truck crash in northern California earlier this month.
The April 10 crash, which killed 10 people and injured 30 others, occurred on Interstate 5 about 90 miles north of Sacramento, where a FedEx semi-truck crossed over a highway median and hit a bus head-on. The bus was carrying Los Angeles-area high school students to Humboldt State University, where they were scheduled to tour the college.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Rosa Rivera, mother of 17-year-old Jennifer Bonilla, who was killed in the crash. Rivera alleges that the driver of the FedEx truck was negligent and that the company's trucks have a history of vehicle fires.
Although a witness claimed that the FedEx truck was on fire prior to the collision, a preliminary investigation into the crash did not find evidence of a pre-collision fire.
Rivera is seeking $100 million in damages. This marks the first lawsuit filed in connection with the crash.
Judge Awards $80 Million for Woman's 'Slow and Painful' Death
December 11, 2013
A judge in Albuquerque awarded $80 million to the husband of a woman who died while trapped in her vehicle after a tractor-trailer hauling sand fell from an overpass onto her car.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed 10 years ago by Jose Miera, whose wife, Laura, was killed on October 2, 2002. Named as defendants in the suit were Albuquerque Redi-Mix and its owners, John B. and Barbara Quintana.
Laura, who was 48 years old, died when a truck owned by Redi-Mix and operated by Truman Bahe drove off an interstate overpass, landing on Miera's car and trapping her inside as sand poured into the vehicle.
According to court documents, the truck Bahe was driving had an expired registration and its brakes were in disrepair. In addition, Bahe had received two prior DWI charges before being hired by Redi-Mix.
Counselors, teachers and students from the school where Miera had just dropped off her daughter tried to dig Miera out of her vehicle by hand, but she eventually suffocated.
Jose Miera's attorney said that the Quintanas filed for bankruptcy protection just one week after the family filed the wrongful death lawsuit.
A default judgment was entered on Friday after only one of the defendants, Barbara Quintana, showed up for court last week despite a court order that they appear.
District Court Judge Shannon Bacon awarded $16.74 million in compensatory damages, as well as $2 million to Miera's daughter and $1 million to Miera's husband for loss of companionship. She also awarded $60 million in punitive damages for willful misconduct that "endangered and continues to endanger the public at large, and caused the slow and painful death of Laura Miera."
Girl, 13, Awarded $150 Million for Family's Death
October 30, 2013
A California jury verdict awarded $150 million to a 13-year-old girl whose family was killed in a car accident in 2009.
The wrongful death suit was filed on behalf of Kylie Asam, whose mother, father and brother burned to death on November 22, 2009, after the GMC Yukon her father was driving hit an illegally parked truck on the 210 Freeway.
Kylie and her brother Blaine were also in the vehicle at the time of the crash and managed to crawl out of a broken window in the back seat, but the rest of the family died when the Yukon caught fire.
The driver of the truck, who was working for Bhandal Bros. Trucking, was illegally parked on the shoulder of the freeway, which is designated for emergencies. The driver claimed that he pulled over to the side of the road to take medication for a headache, which his lawyer claimed constituted an emergency. He did not turn on his hazard lights or set out emergency reflectors.
The jury ruled against the driver and the trucking company, awarding Kylie $150 million, which includes $8.75 million for her brother Blaine, who took his own life in June.
According to Kylie's attorney, the money will be held in a trust fund until she turns 18.
Families of Train Crash Victims File Wrongful Death Suit
November 29, 2012
The families of two veterans killed when a train struck a parade float in Texas have filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Midland County District Court, lists Union Pacific Railroad and Smith Industries Inc., the company that owned the truck which served as a parade float, as defendants.
The families of the two veterans killed in the crash allege that the railroad's train crossing signal failed to provide adequate warning of an approaching train.
In 2006, the speed limit for trains at the crossing was increased from 45 mph to 70 mph, but the railroad never increased the crossing censors to provide a visible and audible warning of an oncoming train at 4,000 feet. The censors were still set to warn of an approaching train at 1,600 feet - a difference of 10 seconds.
Had their loved ones had that extra warning time, they may have been able to flee in time to avoid the crash, the lawsuit claims.
The train was traveling at 62 mph when it entered the crossing area and struck the parade float.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Union Pacific by other veterans injured in the crash.
Chicago Rail Cars Deemed Defective
March 08, 2012
A report released on Thursday revealed that new train cars manufactured for the Chicago Transit Authority were made with faulty and potentially hazardous materials from China.
According to the investigation, substandard steel parts on the undercarriage of the CTA rail cars could disintegrate and result in derailment.
The new train cars, known as the "5000 Series," were purchased from Bombardier Transportation, a firm based in Canada.
Almost all of the faulty steel castings were produced by Sifang Foundry in Qingdao, China. for Bombardier, CTA officials revealed.
Jury's Ruling Favors Ford
March 06, 2012
A jury's ruling this week favored Ford Motors in a case involving a 2003 crash that killed a Missouri state trooper and injured one person, according to court documents.
The suit was filed by injury victim Michael Nolte, who claimed Ford was partially responsible for his injuries due to a manufacturing defect in the company's Crown Victoria model.
On May 22, 2003, Nolte was pulled over by Officer Michael Newton for remaining too long in the passing lane and placed in the back seat of Newton's patrol car. A large truck traveling at 65 miles per hour rear-ended the patrol car, causing it to burst into flames after a fuel filler tube became detached from the Crown Victoria during the crash.
Nolte suffered intense burns and was hospitalized for 65 days, during which time he had to undergo several painful surgeries and skin grafts. He has also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
The jury found on Monday that Ford is not responsible for Nolte's injuries, but ruled that the truck driver's employer must pay $8.5 million in damages.
Truck Safety Advocates Challenge new Driver Fatigue Rule
February 28, 2012
Groups advocating for highway and truck safety filed a lawsuit last week challenging a new federal rule that allegedly falls short in protecting the public from sleep-deprived truck drivers, according to court documents.
The suit was filed by Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Truck Safety Coalition and two truck drivers, who are seeking a judicial review of a new rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Attorneys for the advocacy groups said the final hours of service rule fails to reduce the limit on consecutive hours a truck driver can operate a large truck from 11 hours to 10 hours, despite the NHTSA's comment that doing so would be effective to reduce driver fatigue.
The rule also fails to amend the 34-hour restart provision, which requires only 34 hours of off-duty time for drivers after 70 hours of driving - reduced from 48 or more hours in 2004.
According to surveys conducted by the NHTSA, 65 percent of drivers admitted to driving while tired and 48 percent said that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel within the previous year.
Pedestrian Killed by Truck Thought to be Texting
February 27, 2012
Police believe a 34-year-old pedestrian who was struck and killed by a large truck may have been texting while crossing the street in Downey, California, last Tuesday.
The incident occurred while Daniel Malloy of Pico Rivera was crossing Lakewood Boulevard at about 8 p.m. last Tuesday evening. According to police, he was struck by a Freightliner tractor-trailer that was turning onto Lakewood Boulevard.
Emergency crews rushed Malloy to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The coroner's office announced on Friday that an investigation had determined that Malloy was texting while crossing the street.
The incident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed in the case.
Several People Hospitalized in Train-Truck Crash
February 02, 2012
Several people were hospitalized after an Amtrak passenger train en route from Pontiac, Michigan, to Chicago collided with a semi-truck, causing the train to derail early Wednesday morning, authorities said.
The crash occurred at a level crossing equipped with signal lights between Ann Arbor and Jackson, when the Amtrak Wolverine Service Train carrying 68 passengers struck the tractor-trailer causing the train's locomotive to tip over and two train cars to derail.
Several people were taken to a local hospital - including the truck driver - for examination, but no serious injuries were reported.
Rail service has been temporarily suspended while investigators attempt to determine the cause of the crash.
One Dead, two Injured in Tailgating Accident
November 21, 2011
One woman was killed and two others were injured in an accident involving a U-Haul truck at a tailgating area outside the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, on Saturday, police officials said.
The accident occurred just before the Yale-Harvard football game kickoff, when a U-Haul truck suddenly accelerated and struck the three women.
All three women were rushed to the hospital, where one woman was pronounced dead, another was listed in serious condition, and the third was treated for minor injuries.
The driver of the U-Haul was a Yale University student who was taken into police custody for questioning.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Tanker Trucks Collide, Explode on Arizona Highway
November 09, 2011
A collision between two tanker trucks on an Arizona highway caused one to burst into flames Wednesday morning, forcing several nearby hotels to be evacuated, officials said.
A spokesman for the Phoenix Fire Department announced that one person is believed to have been killed in the explosion, which occurred on Interstate 10 in Chandler.
The rear-end collision caused an estimated 7,700 gallons of gasoline to spill from one of the trucks involved in the crash. The contents of the other tanker truck are still unknown.
The freeway has been closed in both directions and nearby hotels have been evacuated until the fire is extinguished.
Seven Killed in Truck-Minivan Crash
October 28, 2011
Seven people were killed and four others were injured Thursday night when a large truck rear-ended a minivan on the Indiana Toll Road near Middlebury, police said.
Police believe the driver of the minivan may have slowed down or stopped after hitting a deer in the eastbound lanes of the toll road at around 8 p.m. The truck crashed into the back of the minivan, which was carrying 10 passengers.
Seven passengers in the minivan were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The three other passengers and the truck driver were transported by helicopter and ambulance to local hospitals for treatment.
The toll road was closed for four hours while police investigated the crash.
8 Injured in New York Bus Crash
October 18, 2011
Eight people were injured when a bus crashed into a semi-truck on the New York State Thruway early Tuesday morning, police said.
The accident occurred in Sloatsburg, about 30 miles northwest of New York City, causing backups for many morning rush-hour commuters.
Among the injured was the Trailways bus driver, who rear ended a tractor-trailer operated by a Quebec, Canada, truck driver, who had slowed down for a car entering the highway from a rest area. The bus driver and seven passengers were transported to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries.
The bus was en route from Kingston, New York, to New York City.
Train-Truck Crash Injures 40
October 03, 2011
A collision involving an Amtrak train and a semi-truck in Northern California injured 40 people on Friday, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The accident occurred in Contra Costa County at around 7:15 p.m. on Friday after the driver of a semi-truck truck attempted to cross the tracks near Discovery Bay and was struck by a train carrying 204 passengers.
Two railroad workers, the truck driver and 37 passengers were treated and released at the scene.
The train finally arrived in Bakersfield at 6:40 a.m. Saturday morning.
NTSB: Ban Cell Phone use in Large Trucks
September 14, 2011
National Transportation Safety Board officials called for a ban on cell phone use by large truck operators in a statement released on Tuesday.
The statement was made after an NTSB safety investigation determined that a March 2010 truck accident that left 11 people dead in Kentucky was likely caused by the truck driver using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
Investigators found that the driver likely responsible for the Munfordville, Kentucky, accident placed or received 69 mobile phone calls and text messages during the 24-hour period leading up to the accident. He was in the process of making a call on his cell phone at the time his truck veered off the highway.
The ban would prohibit drivers from using mobile devices while operating commercial vehicles, except in cases of emergency.
Driver Dead, 4 Injured in Fuel Truck Explosion
July 25, 2011
The driver of a fuel tanker truck was killed on Saturday after he crashed into the median on Route 1 just outside Saugus, Mass., causing the fully-loaded tanker to explode, police said.
Police do not know why the driver, 59-year-old Neal Michaud, lost control of the tanker at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.
Six vehicles collided with the tanker truck during the crash, causing four people to be transported to area hospitals for treatment. One of the injured had to undergo emergency surgery for severe burns.
A number of other fires were sparked when fuel leaked from the tanker and pooled in nearby storm drains.
Police are currently investigating the cause of the crash.
Truck Driver Dead, 30 Injured in Truck-Bus Collision
July 22, 2011
The driver of a semi is dead after his truck rear ended a tour bus that was carrying 52 passengers from Welland, Ontario, Canada to New York, police said.
Rescue crews say the bus and truck caught fire after the crash. A passing motorist, a soldier from Fort Drum, helped the passengers get off the burning bus.
Timothy Hume, the driver of the truck, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Twenty-eight passengers on the bus were transported to area hospitals for treatment for their injuries. Two of the passengers were seriously injured and had to be flown by helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
LaHood: Cellphone Laws Reduce Distracted Driving Dangers
July 11, 2011
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that strict laws governing cellphone use while driving combined with highly visible police enforcement tactics have proven effective in reducing distracted driving dangers.
The Transportation Department funded two programs in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, to investigate whether the combination of a strong public relations campaign and strict enforcement of cellphone laws would reduce distracted driving.
The public relations campaigns promoted the slogan "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other," and police in the target cities were instructed to strictly enforce laws banning talking or texting while driving. The campaigns resulted in more than 19,000 tickets in New York and Connecticut.
"These findings show that strong laws, combined with highly visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cellphone use behind the wheel," LaHood said.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators monitored the campaigns and conducted surveys to measure their effectiveness.
According to NHTSA reports, cellphone use while driving dropped by 57 percent and texting while driving fell by almost 75 percent in the Hartford survey. In Syracuse, surveys revealed that cellphone use and texting while driving was reduced by one third.
These findings conflict with the results of a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which reported that cellphone bans do not reduce rear-end collisions and that texting bans may actually cause an increase in crashes.
Study: Mobile Devices Create Biggest Driver Distractions
July 08, 2011
A recently released study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that cell phones and other mobile devices cause nearly 25 percent of U.S. car crashes each year.
The GHSA, a nonprofit group that focuses on improved traffic safety, evaluated more than 350 scientific papers on distracted driving that have been published since 2000.
The study found that drivers are distracted nearly 50 percent of the time while operating a vehicle and that the use of a cell phone or other mobile device while driving caused a significant increase in the risk of crashing.
In 2009, there were almost 5,500 deaths and 500,000 injuries that resulted from distracted driving crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The GHSA suggested state safety measures, such as a complete ban on cell phone use for novice drivers and a texting ban for all drivers.
Tanker Explosion Prompts Evacuation of Iowa Town
July 08, 2011
A petroleum tanker truck explosion prompted the evacuation of a small town in Iowa Friday morning, officials said.
The explosion caused a large plume of smoke, which prevented fire crews from immediately arriving at the scene of the of the accident.
The blast was followed by three smaller explosions two hours later.
Most of Blakesburg, an Iowa town of only 300 residents, had to be evacuated.
The truck driver was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of his injuries. No other injuries were reported.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.