From the headlines these days, it sometimes may be forgotten that there are many qualified commercial truck drivers who take traffic safety very seriously. This should not come as a surprise, since most every trucker values his job and needs to keep it in order to support himself and his family. That said, there is also a small percentage of bad drivers on the road whose first thought may not be the safety and welfare of the driving public.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers and trucking accident attorneys, I and my colleagues know how easily an 18-wheeler can become a dangerous missile in the wrong hands. Even as a relatively slow-moving vehicle, these 30- to 40-ton behemoths can pose a huge danger on the road. This why we have laws such as the “hours-of-service” regulations (49 CFR Part 395) that put limits on when and how long a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver may operate his or her vehicle.
Whether you live or work in Cumberland, Hagerstown, Frederick or Washington, D.C., as a commuter you and your passengers are almost constantly exposed to potential injury from these tractor-trailer rigs and commercial delivery trucks.
With the advent of cellphones, many citizens are now reporting poor driving behavior and calling the police when they observe a truck driver operating his or her vehicle in an erratic or dangerous manner. More than one life has probably been saved thanks to concerned individuals out there.
Important too, because a traffic accident involving a commercial interstate hauler can result in serious injuries such as deep cuts and lacerations, broken ribs, fractured legs and arms, spinal cord injuries and closed-head trauma. In the worst cases, passenger car occupants have died because of the negligent actions of one person behind the wheel of a deadly machine.
According to news reports, at least one other driver observed a commercial truck being driven erratically prior to a multi-vehicle crash along a stretch of I-80. That driver said it was just a matter of time before the suspect trucker caused a major accident. Police reports indicate that numerous other truckers were talking by radio as they watched a driver for Webster Trucking apparently swerving all over the road. Most of the other truck drivers on the road that day said that they tried to avoid getting too close for fear of an accident.
Reportedly alternately speeding up and slowing down, the Webster driver apparently had a hard time negotiating curves in the roadway. A crash did eventually occur when the suspect’s vehicle reportedly grazed one 18-wheeler parked on the shoulder of I-80, then crashed into a second parked tractor-trailer. Those two trucks were sitting on the roadside as part of overflow from a nearby rest stop.
One of the trucker who saw the accident ran to the disabled vehicle to check on the driver. According to news reports, he tried to open one of the cab doors, but it was jammed; the driver was conscious and moaning. When emergency responders arrived they forced the door open and the Webster trucker was able to walk by himself to the ambulance. At the time of the news report, police stated that they would likely cite the driver for a variety of traffic offenses.
Tractor-trailer accident ‘just a matter of time,’ says driver, WHPTV.com, January 5, 2011