It’s hard to imagine something as large and apparently stable as an 18-wheeled tractor-trailer flipping on its side, but events like this actually happen more often that one might think. And when one of these large commercial vehicles crashes and turns over, you had better not be near it when it does. To be caught in that kind of roadway collision is only to invite potential injury or possible death.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my staff of legal professionals have seen the victims of commercial trucking accidents and we fully understand the destructive power that these people experienced during their ordeals. Life-threatening events such as a bad roadway collision with a large delivery truck or big rig semi can alter one’s view of what is and isn’t safe on the road today.
With a mass equal to nearly 20 normal-sized passenger sedans, a fully-loaded tractor-trailer rig is one formidable machine. And while most truckers are hard-working and conscientious people, there are some drivers who are less concerned about the safety of others which who they must share the road. It’s this smaller group of bad drivers that can cause most of the pain and grief on the expressways and surface streets around Maryland.
Whether you live or work in Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Washington, D.C., or Bowie, odds are that you will drive alongside or past an 18-wheeler several times or more each day. Understanding the risks associated with these large trucks is half the battle of staying alive on the road these days.
Take the two accidents recently reported in the news, one on the Beltway Inner Loop and the other on Rte 100 in Anne Arundel County. According to news reports the first crash took place around 11pm at night when a big rig semi apparently went out of control and left the roadway, crashing into the concrete sound barrier in the Lanham area just before the Annapolis Rd. exit. After striking the wall, the entire vehicle turned on its side from the force of the impact.
Aside from the trucker, who sustained what authorities described as life-threatening injuries, no other people were hurt as a result of the wreck. However, the extent of the crash caused every lane on the Capital Beltway’s inner loop had to be shut down for more than an hour.
Emergency responders arriving on the scene found the driver apparently trapped inside the cab of the semi; firefighters had to extricate the driver before they could transport him to a local hospital for treatment of his extensive injuries. A Haz-Mat crew was then needed to clear the spilled diesel fuel off the roadway before police could reopen the beltway.
In the second trucking-related traffic accident, another semi tractor-trailer overturned near Arundel Mills mall about half past noon that same day. The crash, which happened near the intersection of Route 100 and Arundel Mills Blvd, caused reportedly minor injuries to the truck’s operator. About 100 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled as a result of the crash, which left the 18-wheeler on its side in the center median.
Emergency rescue crews arrived at the crash site and lent aid to the trucker, who was not seriously injured, according to news reports; however, his injuries were sufficient to merit an ambulance ride to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center out in Glen Burnie.
There was no mention of the particular cause to either of these wrecks, and investigations would likely uncover some if not all of the causes. In the absence of any hard information, it is important to note that in some cases where a truck, car or motorcycle is involved in an accident all by itself, driver error can be one of the key suspected factors. In addition to this, sometimes a defective vehicle component or part on the vehicle may have failed, either causing the vehicle to go out of control or make it difficult for the driver to maintain control in the event of an emergency situation.
Overturned Tractor-Trailer on Inner Loop of Beltway, CBSLocal.com, February 26, 2013
Tractor-trailer turns over near Arundel Mills mall, CapitalGazette.com, February 26, 2013