According to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a truck accident involving a tractor-trailer and an SUV left six people fatally injured and another five people seriously injured in 2016. While the SUV was carrying too many occupants at the time of the crash, the accident could have been much less severe, or avoided entirely, if the truck driver was fully rested and the big rig was equipped with collision avoidance technology. Although the truck involved in the fatal accident was prewired for a collision mitigation system, the carrier chose not to purchase it.
Passengers of the SUV that survived the crash said that their vehicle was traveling just below the minimum posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. There were 11 occupants in the vehicle, which is designed to hold seven passengers. The tractor trailer was using the cruise control function to maintain a speed of close to 75 miles per hour, which was the posted maximum speed limit. The tractor-trailer struck the rear of the SUV after the truck driver was unable to react quickly enough to avoid hitting the slow-moving SUV.
How the Accident Could Have Been Avoided
The 27-year-old truck driver had been with Precision Truck Lines Inc. for three years and this was his second trip for the company. Unfortunately, an investigation revealed that the driver’s logbook entries were inconsistent, and he had not obtained the required hours of rest between shifts. He had been driving through the night on less than five hours of sleep over a 21.5-hour period before the wreck occurred. According to the NTSB, the driver was unable to slow down and avoid the SUV due to fatigue. While the SUV driver should have used the vehicle’s hazard lights to alert other drivers that the vehicle was driving at a low speed, the number of passengers in the vehicle and the lack of collision avoidance technology in the truck made the crash that much more severe.
Driver fatigue, occupant protection, and collision avoidance are just a few of the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, said Rob Molloy, Director of the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety. Collision avoidance systems that are capable of automatically applying the brakes would have been particularly helpful at reducing the severity of the truck crash, possibly reducing or avoiding fatalities. After a review of the crash, Precision Truck Lines was given an unsatisfactory safety rating and its operating authority was revoked.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Truck Accident Victims
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We understand how devastating these types of accidents can be and we will work tirelessly to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.