As motorists we are all tested and licensed by the state of Maryland before we can legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. This is reasonable and as a matter of tradition and the law, completely acceptable considering the dangers that an unqualified driver could pose on the streets of Rockville, Howie, Columbia and Washington, D.C. By extension, it is no surprise that drivers of commercial motor vehicles have an ever stricter set of hurdles to clear before being granted their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Anyone who disagrees with the added regulatory requirements imposed on operators of 18-wheelers, semi tractor-trailers, commercial box trucks, and even city bus drivers, should consider the heady responsibility of driving a 30-plus-ton, multi-wheeled behemoth on a public road. At nearly 20 times the mass of an average passenger car, a long-haul semi rig can easily become an almost unstoppable and indiscriminate killing machine if driven recklessly on an expressway or city street.
As Maryland trucking accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues are keenly aware of the potential for bodily harm or death from one of these vehicles when its driver is caught unaware or even actively negligent in his or her operation of that 18-wheeler. And this goes for being in or working around even a stationary truck.
This very topic came to mind as we read of a driver who was killed when the auto hauler he was working on apparently crushed him to death in Baltimore County back in January. It only points up the constant need for vigilance on the part of truck operators and bystanders alike when in the immediate vicinity of these large commercial vehicles.
Who among us hasn’t, on occasion, wondered what would happen if an automobile hauler lost even one of its passenger cars or SUVs while moving down the road? But a scenario much more likely, at least in some people’s minds is the potential for injury or death while one of these trucks is being unloaded.
According to news reports, the driver of an auto hauler was killed while unloading cars at a Towson automobile dealership just before 10am on a Sunday morning. Based on police reports, 45-year-old Glaucio Dasilva was busy taking vehicles off his transporter at Heritage Hyundai when he was inadvertently pinned beneath one of the vehicle’s structural components. By the time police found the man there was nothing anyone could do for him. The medical examiner determined he died of asphyxiation.
It was not clear whether the accident was caused by a failed part, other mechanical problem or human error, however police investigators believe that the trucker might have been attempting to fix or adjust something on the truck prior to becoming entrapped and suffocated by part of the vehicle’s mechanism.
Sadly, all this happened while his wife — who was apparently traveling with him — was asleep in the cab of the tractor. Based on news articles, the woman awoke and couldn’t find her husband. It appears that she called police after being unable to locate her husband. Only after searching for quite a while did officers find the man’s body trapped under the trailer portion of the semi around 4pm that afternoon.
Man killed by car carrier at Towson dealership identified, BaltimoreSun.com, January 17, 2012
Man killed unloading vehicles at Towson dealership, BaltimoreSun.com, January 15, 2012