It may not be too much of a stretch for those among us — long-time motorists and seasoned commuters alike — to consider themselves at least to some extent professional drivers. Certainly the number of miles driven over decades of traveling to and from work likely add up to the hundreds of thousands, but this is just a fraction of the mileage that the pros log. Those who operate buses, taxis and large commercial vehicles for a living are the true professional drivers, and as such they carry a responsibility to the rest of us to maintain safe vehicles and operate them in a safe manner that avoids risk of accidental bodily injury.
Professional truck drivers, as with other working professions, are licensed by the federal government to be competent in their field of endeavor. In the case of truckers, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for any person employed in the operation of 18-wheelers, commercial delivery trucks and other heavy over-the-road equipment. Unfortunately, the fact that a driver passes a test and keeps up with annual requirements is no guarantee that any one individual will not be involved in a traffic accident of his or her making.
It’s likely that most of our readers give only a passing thought to the potential damage that an out-of-control tractor-trailer or large delivery vehicle can inflict on property and innocent people. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my staff know how a normal commute can turn into a nightmare of vehicular carnage with just a slight bit of inattention or a thoughtless action behind the wheel. The fact is, it only takes one careless or otherwise negligent trucker to ruin the lives of one or more people who otherwise did nothing wrong except be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s a fact that more than a few people here in Maryland, as well as across the country, have been sent to the hospital all because of one person acting in a negligent manner. The simplest driving error can sometimes result in a tragic auto accident. No wonder why texting while driving and other distracting activities are coming under more and more scrutiny as law enforcement and safety advocates strive for reduced highway fatalities and severe bodily injuries arising from car, truck and motorcycle wrecks.
It goes without saying that a small but significant percentage of fatal road collisions come out of impacts with commercial vehicles. For this very reason, truckers and commercial trucking companies are required to meet stringent safety and operational regulations. Nonetheless, a handful of bad drivers can taint and entire industry in the eyes of the public. Whether a truck crash is caused by a negligent driver is up to the police and our courts to decide, but we do see news stories every week illustrating the dangers of trucking-related accidents.
Not too long ago, a single-truck crash left a tractor-trailer on its side and the driver with slight injuries. Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved, but this doesn’t mean that the crash was any less serious; it could have been given the right conditions.
Based on news articles, a truck was charged with several traffic violations after his rig crashed and overturned on Interstate 70 in Frederick County, MD. According to Maryland State Police, the semi was carrying a load of chlorine bleach when it left the road for some reason and collided with a roadside guardrail. The crash itself took place in the mid-afternoon on a Monday when the 34-year-old truck driver steered to avoid hitting another vehicle on the roadway.
Avoiding a crash is not necessarily a chargeable offense, except in this particular case, police believe that the semi was traveling at a speed greater than reasonable for conditions. The higher speed apparently exacerbated the situation, causing the driver to lose control of the truck, which subsequently left the roadway. As the driver reportedly tried to return the vehicle to the pavement, the trailer overturned, blocking every one of the lanes on westbound I-70.
In addition to charges of negligent driving, police cited the driver for operating her rig “at a speed greater than reasonable” for the existing road and weather conditions. The driver was reportedly unhurt and did not need any medical attention following the truck-related traffic wreck.
Tractor Trailer Driver Charged In I-70 WB Crash In Frederick Co., WUSA9.com, May 15, 2012