Articles Posted in Semi Truck Accidents

It is a common trope for someone to say that their “life flashed before their eyes” during a dangerous situation or near-death experience. A Maine woman may know this feeling intimately after her experience as part of a multi-vehicle collision that nearly killed her in Franklin County late last month. According to a local news report discussing the crash, winter driving conditions appeared to trigger a chain reaction crash involving several vehicles and a semi-truck. The crash reportedly injured several people, and one woman, fortunately, avoided being killed by jumping under the out-of-control semi-truck as it slid toward her.

According to the local news report, the crash was triggered on an early morning late last month when a 41-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer lost control of the vehicle on an icy patch of road that was caused by freezing rain. The out-of-control truck then struck several vehicles and started to slide sideways across all lanes of travel on the highway. One woman, who was standing outside of her car on the roadside addressing an unrelated issue when the accident occurred, was forced to jump under the oncoming semi-truck as it slid sideways toward her vehicle. The semi passed over the woman, then struck her vehicle and slid into a roadside ditch. When all was said and done, at least four vehicles were involved in the crash, and several people were reportedly injured and transported to a local hospital in the aftermath of the accident.

Semi-truck drivers have an increased duty to operate their vehicles safely on Maine roads. Their duty is especially important in the winter months or during other periods with dangerous weather and variable road conditions. Because semi-truck drivers are generally required to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate their vehicles, they have undergone additional training on how to safely operate large vehicles during inclement weather. If the driver of a tractor-trailer operates their vehicle and causes an accident, they can be held liable for any damages caused as a result of the crash. If a truck driver negligently triggers a chain-reaction crash, they are legally responsible to compensate all victims hurt or killed in the crash even if the truck was not directly involved in the subsequent collisions.

In an intense, action-packed movie, there may be various scenes involving high-speed chases, vehicles flipping over, and dramatic crashes. When these types of crashes happen in the real world, it can lead to devastating outcomes and can happen for a variety of reasons. Because of the large size of semi-trucks, which have a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds in the United States, an accident involving a semi-truck can take hours to clear up. When a semi-truck rolls over after striking an object such as another car, the collision of its wheels with the object may cause a specific force on the wheels that leads to the semi-truck to rollover. When a semi-truck driver loses control of a vehicle, it may cause the wheels to skid and the vehicle to flip over. This can be due to speed, improperly loading cargo, distracted driving, or other reasons.

According to a recent news report, a crash in Poland, Maine occurred that resulted in a semi-truck landing on top of a Ford pickup truck. The Sheriff’s Office believes that the Ford pickup truck pulled out in front of an oncoming FedEx semi-truck and that the semi-truck could not avoid the crash. The semi-truck ended up rolling on top of the Ford pickup, and a third vehicle was additionally involved. Miraculously, the driver of the Ford pickup was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Negligence and Truck Rollovers in Maine

When driving on a busy road, it is always wise to leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you—especially if the vehicle in front of you is a large semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Leaving space can often help you prevent accidents from taking place with the vehicle in front of you but can also give you enough time and space to swerve out of the way if the vehicle stops suddenly or breaks down. Because truck accidents can often result in devastating accidents, remaining aware of the dangers that come with their size and operation on the road is crucial for any driver’s safety.

According to a recent news report, a tractor-trailer crashed into a Maine Turnpike truck that was parked in the breakdown lane with its amber blinker lights flashing. The driver and passenger of the Turnpike truck had exited the vehicle to retrieve construction signs that were on the road. The tractor-trailer drifted into the breakdown lane and hit a rumble strip, and then side-swiped the Turnpike truck. The driver and passenger of the Turnpike truck were able to safely move out of the way into a nearby ditch, safely out of the way. The driver of the tractor-trailer was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital. Debris that flew up from the accident injured a nearby worker, who was transported to a local hospital to also be treated for minor injuries.

In Maine, although trucks only make up 4.7 percent of all vehicles, accidents involving trucks and similar vehicles can often be devastating. Truck accidents can often lead to fatalities or severe injuries or property damage following a collision, so it is crucial that drivers understand the risks.

Although there are various dangers on our roads, trucks are responsible for a significant number of them. Being more susceptible to accidents because of their larger size and weight compared to average passenger vehicles, trucks can often put even the most experienced drivers on high alert. Of the various ways you could be involved in a significant accident with a truck, Maine truck underride collisions may be one of the most deadly and horrific.

A truck underride collision occurs when a regular passenger vehicle like a sedan or even an SUV crashes into a semi-truck or other large multi-wheeler vehicle and then slides under the truck. When the passenger vehicle goes under the larger truck, it often scrapes the roof off of the passenger vehicle and can kill the occupants upon impact. Sometimes, when the driver and passengers of the passenger vehicle are more fortunate, the crash will occur next to one of the larger truck’s axles, which prevents the passenger vehicle from physically going completely under the truck.

According to national statistics, truck underride collisions account for nearly a quarter of deaths from accidents involving trucks. Of all the types of truck underride collisions, side underride and rear underride crashes occur most frequently.

Given Maine’s reputation as a beautiful place to live and vacation, the state experiences a significant amount of car and truck travel every year. However, all this traffic creates busy highways filled with cars and large commercial vehicles, increasing the chances of a serious Maine truck accident. Although some accidents are unavoidable, many trucking accidents are preventable. A significant number of these accidents result from a driver’s negligence or a defective car or truck component.

Trucks with defective parts, as well as those with inherently dangerous features, kill and injure thousands of people every year. A seemingly small defect can change the mechanical workings of these intricate vehicles. Even one defective part in a commercial truck can result in a total system failure, causing the truck to become a serious hazard. This is why federal and state lawmakers require commercial truck drivers to obtain special education, training, and licensing to operate them. Even simple tasks such as shifting and braking require several systems to work together. If even one of these systems contains a defect, the risk of a system failure or accident significantly increases.

The most common defects involve brakes, hydraulics, engines, steering systems, hitches, tires, and restraints. For example, recently, a state court issued an opinion in an accident lawsuit stemming from a truck’s un-commanded activation of a dump gate.

The Bureau of Highway Safety and the Maine Department of Transportation periodically release Maine crash data. These reports indicate that the leading causes of Maine accidents are distracted and inattentive driving, lane departures, speeding, and impaired driving. Many people believe that impaired driving is only a result of alcohol or illicit drug use; however, impaired driving also includes those driving while under the influence of a prescription medication that was prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition. It can also include those who drive while suffering from certain medical conditions.

Some medical conditions make it unsafe for an individual to drive a vehicle. People who know or should know that their medical condition can cause driving impairment should take appropriate precautions before operating a motor vehicle. In some instances, driving may not be safe at all. Certain medical conditions may predispose a person to engage in unsafe driving. For example, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, limited eyesight, and other conditions that require medication may limit a driver’s ability to drive safely.

If a driver’s health condition is the cause of an accident, they may be liable for any injuries caused by the accident. Establishing liability in typical impaired or drunk driving accidents may be straightforward; however, accidents resulting from medical conditions can be more complicated. Drivers owe others a standard of care to operate their motor vehicle safely. If a driver knows or should know that their medical condition or medication can cause impaired driving, they should not risk the safety of others by driving. If they fail to take the appropriate precautions and cause an accident, they may face liability.

The death of a state police detective in a Maine trucking accident on I-95  in Hampden was initially called a “bizarre” and “freak accident,” but is now under greater scrutiny by traffic homicide investigators after the motor carrier’s safety record revealed a troubling history of safety violations. As Bangor truck injury lawyers, we’d say while it’s fair to assert the exact circumstances leading to the detective’s death were uncommon, the term “freak accident” insinuates it wasn’t something that could have been stopped. But if a “freak accident” is even partially the result of poor truck maintenance, improper repairs, overloading or inadequate road safety checks, that can be the basis for a Maine negligence lawsuit against those responsible.

According to local news, the 31-year-old detective was assisting a disabled motorist on the snowy highway when two  wheels of a passing tractor-trailer suddenly came unhinged, flew off in either direction, with one fatally strikng the officer, a husband and new father. The driver of that tractor-trailer reportedly failed to stop at the scene, and his actions/sobriety are under investigation.

Meanwhile, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in January released early 2018 national truck crash statistics, which seem to indicate increasing road risks. The percentage of all fatal crashes involving at least one large truck increased from 11.1 percent in 2015 to 12.4 percent in 2017. Transportation Topics reported deadly large truck crashes were up more than 3 percent in one recent year. Occupant fatalities rose 24 percent in two years. Continue reading

The driver of a tractor-trailer packed with sawdust and wood chips narrowly escaped serious injury after he reportedly fell asleep, crossed the center line and slammed into a ditch on the opposite side of the road before the rig turned on its side. 

The crash occurred on Route 150 in Athens. The 50-year-old trucker told responding authorities that he fell asleep while driving and then work up in a ditch. He was transported to a local hospital as a precaution, the Kennebec Journal reported, but was soon thereafter released. It’s fortunate no other motorists were on that particular stretch of road when the truck accident occurred, as these large vehicles have the potential to cause catastrophic and fatal injuries, especially if one were to hit a passenger vehicle head on in the opposing lane.

Drowsy driving is a major problem in the trucking industry, with the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, published annually by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, revealing 13 percent of all commercial motor vehicle drivers were deemed “fatigued” at the time of the collision. The FMCSA defines “fatigue” as exertion – either physical or mental – that results in impaired performance. Truck drivers are especially prone to fatigue because they often suffer from inadequate sleep, brutal work schedules and monotonous work.  Continue reading

Two men died and two others were seriously injured when a pickup truck slammed into a dump truck on a recent Wednesday morning in Durham. It was shortly after 7 a.m. when the pickup, exiting Rabbit Road onto Route 9, slammed into a crossing dump truck driven by a 42-year-old. Two of the men inside the pickup, ages 21 and 24, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third, age 35, was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to a Lewiston hospital. The dump truck driver also suffered injuries, although he was reportedly in fair condition.

Several of the details we know about this case so far suggest there may be complex legal issues that trucking accident attorneys will likely explore in civil litigation. 

The dump truck was reportedly owned by a local construction company, according to The Portland Press Herald. The pickup struck the dump truck near the gas tank. The pickup truck burst into flames almost instantaneously as the dump truck flipped onto its side. Three men who happened on the scene pulled the three men out of the burning pickup truck.

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Almost 23 years have passed since Daphne Izner’s 17-year-old son and three of his friends, parked in the breakdown lane of the Maine Turnpike when their car overheated, were struck and instantly killed by a tired trucker. Despite causing four deaths, the truck driver was never charged with manslaughter. Drowsy driving wasn’t – and still isn’t – punishable by law in Maine. (The driver did ultimately serve three months in jail for falsely logging his work hours, a major problem in the Maine trucking industry.) Last year, HB 683, which would have made it a crime to operate a vehicle after 24 consecutive hours without sleep or while the person’s ability or alertness is so impaired by fatigue that it’s unsafe, failed in the state senate. 

Nonetheless, Izner has not given up her 23-year fight to make Maine’s roads safer. A year after their son died, Izner and her husband founded Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) which has been a force for change on Maine’s roads.

In 2002, PATT became the Truck Safety Coalition after joining forces with Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways. But for all the progress she and other safe trucking advocates have made, there are those in Congress who are still actively working to peel back federal safety regulations for the trucking industry. Specifically, the hours of service regulations for truckers is one that lobbyists have been working to scale back. Safety advocates like Izner aren’t giving up. They know how much is at stake.  Continue reading

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