Berkeley Truck Accident Halts Traffic

Home » Berkeley Truck Accident Halts Traffic
November 24, 2017
Edward Smith


Traffic Stalled Due to Truck Accident

A truck accident on Interstate 80 near Berkeley caused significant delays recently. Traffic was stalled for more than eight hours due to the crash.

What Happened

A big rig was hauling food for Safeway when it veered into a median in the area of University Avenue after hitting a Honda in the early morning hours. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the truck, with approximately five tons of food onboard, experienced a fuel line break, dumping 40 gallons of fuel down a nearby embankment. In response to the hazardous material spill, a waste removal team from the Department of Transportation in California was called to clean the oil spill. In order to do that, about 18 barrels of soil were removed due to oil contamination.

The Aftermath of the Accident

The truck broke an axle in the course of the accident, so removal of the wreckage was slowed. Traffic in the right lanes of eastbound Interstate 80 was halted until roughly three in the afternoon when a Sigalert was lifted.

Injuries in the Accident

The driver of the truck was not injured, according to authorities. It was also confirmed that the driver of the passenger vehicle was unharmed.

Hazmat Accidents

Oil and gasoline are often spilled in trucking accidents. Trucks often haul thousands of gallons of oil and gas. If soil penetration is involved, the affected soil must be removed using hazmat techniques. This can be a costly and labor-intensive endeavor. In cases where a spill contaminates a roadway or adjacent soil in California, Caltrans, under incident management by the Federal Highway Administration, takes charge of the cleanup. In some cases, CalTrans will need to confer with local health officers, pollution control agencies and agricultural departments. In the event an emergency situation exists, the CHP can allow CalTrans workers to haul contaminated substances away from the traffic area.

Who Pays for Cleanup?

The trucker or trucking company that is responsible for the release of hazardous materials shoulders the financial burden of cleanup.

Maintenance Issues in Truck Accidents

Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their trucks. Independent truckers  are responsible for maintaining their own vehicles. If a spill causing hazardous conditions that cause an accident or injuries to others occurs due to negligent maintenance, either the trucker or the trucking company or both can be held liable for the financial damage.

Respondeat Superior

This is a legal doctrine that translates into let the superior answer. If a trucker working for a trucking company fails to inspect or properly maintain his or her vehicle, leading to an accident, the owner of the company can be held liable under this doctrine. In a legal claim, both parties can be named in the lawsuit.

Truck Accident Causes

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck accidents shown to be the fault of the driver or company that employs that driver are as follows:

  • Brake problems: 27 percent
  • Unfamiliarity with the route: 19 percent
  • Driver felt pressured: 10 percent
  • Driver was fatigued: 7 percent
  • Aggressive driving: 5 percent
  • Tire problems: 3 percent
  • Illness: 1 percent
  • Use of illegal substances: 0.4 percent
  • Use of alcohol: 0.3 percent

Berkeley Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Berkeley truck accident lawyer. Expenses for injuries suffered in an accident caused by negligence by a truck driver or company due to poor maintenance can be recovered by a seasoned personal injury lawyer. For help, please call me at (510) 631-0200 or at my toll-free number (800) 404-5400. I can offer you friendly advice free of charge.

Since 1982, I’ve assisted residents of Northern California and those in Berkeley in cases of wrongful death and personal injuries such as brain injury.

Find reviews and extensive comments by my previous clients at:

As a Million Dollar Advocates member, I join the top trial lawyers from around the country with case verdicts and/or settlements of at least $1 million.

Added information on my legal practice is found on my website,, under Verdicts and Settlements.

Photo Attribution:

:cd [cs 696] cv