Two Killed in Tractor Trailer Accident in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. A collision between a tractor trailer and cargo truck along Interstate 5 resulted in deaths of two individuals on Wednesday, July 26, near Elk Grove in the southern part of the county. The third lane of the interstate remained closed for almost three hours while the California Highway Patrol investigated a cause of the collision and highway debris was removed.
I would like to send my sympathy and prayers to the families of those who perished in this crash.
The truck accident occurred along the northbound side of the highway near Laguna Boulevard around 5:30 in the morning when the tractor trailer slowed down and stopped because of a previous crash on that side of the highway. This is when it was struck in the rear by a cargo truck. Reportedly, the tractor trailer driver felt the impact and exited the road onto the shoulder. The cargo truck remained attached to the trailer section of the semi and was pulled along due to the severity of the impact.
Those who were reported to have died at the accident scene were both occupants of the cargo truck. They were identified as a Gilroy resident, age 21, and a Hollister resident, age 31.
Rear-End Collisions in Tractor Trailer Accidents
There are two types of rear-end collisions between a tractor trailer and a smaller motor vehicle. The first involves the big rig hitting a smaller motor vehicle from behind. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, of the 400,000 crashes involving a tractor trailer that occur yearly, 80,000 are rear-end collisions.
There are several reasons a truck crashes into the rear of a smaller vehicle:
- Speeding: Tractor-trailer drivers are obliged to operate their vehicles at the posted speed limit. Additional caution is necessary during inclement weather or when the highway is congested. According to the Utah Department of Transportation, large trucks require 525 feet to come to a stop when they are loaded with cargo. This is approximately the length of two average-sized football fields. As the speed of the vehicle increases, the stopping distance is also increased.
- Faulty Brakes: Brakes that have not been maintained and have not been adjusted or are defective are responsible for rear-end collisions at twice the rate of other vehicles. FMCSA requires that routine inspections are a mandatory precaution that trucking companies must take.
- Driver Fatigue: Driver fatigue is often the result of violating the rules concerning hours of service. Such violations can be due to trucking company urgency to get their product to its end destination in the shortest amount of time. If this urgency can be shown as the reason the driver was fatigued through scheduling and log book documentation, the trucking company can be found at-fault in the accident.
- Inattention: This results when a truck driver diverts his or her attention away from the road and focuses instead on electronic devices or does other tasks while driving. Truck drivers are mandated to keep their attention focused on the roadway for a minimum of at least 1,320 feet or a quarter of a mile. They are also obligated to maintain a distance of approximately 660 feet between the vehicle ahead and the truck at normal highway speed.
Motor Vehicle Rear-Ending a Large Truck
This occurs when a small vehicle such as a passenger car slams into the rear of a large truck. Since the height of the truck’s bumper is elevated, the car frequently passes under the truck, causing the roof of the car to be sheared off or crushed. This results in devastating injuries to the car’s occupants and is called an underride accident.
Trucks are required to have underride guards, which are a type of metal bars that hang from the back of the truck. Such metal underrides are designed to prevent smaller vehicles from passing under the truck. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the bar strength in an underride protection attachment is inadequate in many cases, giving way to the smaller vehicle’s passage. In fact, the Insurance Institute has asked the NHTSA to increase the standard for such guards.
Related Articles by Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith:
Sacramento Truck Accident & Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. Negligent truck drivers and trucking companies can be responsible for serious injuries or deaths to others. If you or your loved one has been injured or you have lost your loved one due to a collision with a big rig, please call me at 916-921-6400. My toll-free number is (800) 404-5400. I am honored to help by offering you my friendly and free advice.
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Photo Attribution: Underride_guard_full-width_impact_test-4.jpg
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