About 4 a.m. on Monday, February 11, a large tractor-trailer hauling live chickens crashed on I-5 in Olympia, Washington. The accident happened near the exit to U.S. 101 where the truck hit the jersey barrier and knocked down a street light. The driver was not injured.
Three southbound lanes and two northbound lanes were blocked as state troopers conducted the crash investigation and crews cleaned up the scene. The crash made a slow morning commute worse as there was ice and snow on the roadway.
The chickens were found running around the freeway and it was not immediately known how many of the chickens were captured, how many escaped and how many were killed. Based on its size there is a possibility that the truck was carrying hundreds of chickens.
The truck driver was cited for an alleged left-lane violation and negligent driving for driving too fast for weather conditions. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard for driving in the left lane than other drivers. While there are allowed to pass in the left lane, they need to get back into the right lane as soon as they can get back over.
What makes semi-truck accidents unique?
- The average fully-loaded big rig truck weighs at least 80,000 pounds compared to the average passenger vehicle that weighs in at 3,000 pounds. The disparity in the weight and size of the vehicles puts the passenger vehicle at tremendous disadvantage.
- The large size of big rigs places limitations on the driver’s ability to accelerate, brake and turn; their visibility may also be limited.
- Truck drivers and manufacturers are held to higher standards than most other drivers so there is a higher likelihood of reimbursement for your injuries.
Top 10 causes of Semi-truck accidents
According to a study by the U.S Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 10 common causes of truck accidents.
- Traffic congestion
- Brake problems
- Driving under the influence
- Roadway problems
- Inadequate surveillance
- Unfamiliarity with the area
- Failure to stop in enough time
- Over-the-counter drug use
Other big rig accident causes include distracted and negligent driving, limited ability to maneuver, inadequate training, systems of compensation that encourage faster driving, and unrealistic driving schedules that cause drivers to be over-tired or rushed. CNBC conducted interviews with regulators, industry, lawyers and victims and found additional reasons for trucking accidents. They found that in some cases trucking companies don’t screen for problem drivers and government is too slow to force new safety technologies or restrictions onto truck manufacturers and drivers because of the trucking industry’s tremendous contribution to the U.S. economy.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!Read More
After reports of a semi-truck with 53-foot trailer driving ‘erratically’ northbound on the I-5 about 6:20 a.m. this morning, it rolled over on its side near the Slater Road exit. The rollover accident snarled traffic for four miles for hours with the truck almost fully blocking both lanes as emergency crews responded to the scene.Read More
Promoting safe operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and reducing the number and severity of crashes on U.S. roadways is critical to the mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In 2009, FMSCA released crash data that indicated that 41,059 people were killed in road crashes in 2007 (FMCSA, 2009a). Of these fatalities, 12 percent (4,808) involved large trucks. On the bright side, this represented a net decrease in fatalities, down 7.5 percent from 1998 to 2007, but there are nevertheless issues around distracted driving that are keeping the numbers as high as they are.Read More
Washington State law RCW 46.61.655 specifically states that “No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public highway unless such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping…” Put simply, traveling with an unsecured load is against the law. If any part of your load can escape your vehicle; you can be ticketed — even if it doesn’t escape. If something being hauled on a truck, trailer or vehicle does fly off or leak out and harms or damages a person or property; a stiff penalty may be issued. Tickets from Washington State Patrol and local police can cost up to several thousand dollars; in serious cases, a person may even spend time in jail. If you arrive at a landfill or transfer station with an unsecured load of garbage, you will be charged extra. Note that some communities have stricter load ordinances that go beyond the state law, requiring loads to be covered. Check with local authorities to be sure you are in compliance.
Secure cushions, pillows and other loose light items from flying away in the wind.
Strap and secure heavy items such as mattresses and furniture to the vehicle.
Be aware that uncovered materials such as wallboard or cardboard can disintegrate if they become wet in rain or snow. Cover items with a solid, water-proof tarp to prevent debris from flying into the air.
Fully cover loose material such as dirt with a solid tarp and secure the tarp to the truck or trailer.
If the load extends four feet beyond the bed of a truck or trailer, all four corners should be tagged with one foot by one foot red flags.
Before driving on a paved, public road all mud, rocks and other debris should be cleaned off of the vehicle’s body, fenders, frame, undercarriage, wheels and tires.
If you are able to stop, check that nothing in your load has loosened or shifted.
Use the appropriate tie-down for your load: straps, ropes and chains. As a general rule, the straps should be rated with a holding strength twice the weight of the load. Bungee cords should not be used as primary tie-downs but they can be used to secure items together inside a load along with twine, string, small gauge cord or rope. Cargo netting holds smaller, lighter items in place, but isn’t designed to keep heavy items from sliding and shifting. Sand bags, chocks and other blocking devices such as rubber mats can help to reduce movement of cargo and help hold slippery items in place.
- Adjustable tie-down hooks can easily be moved to meet different needs.
- A stake-hole eye bolt is a more solid but less adjustable option.
- A cargo bar buttresses against the sides of the truck bed, helping to prevent items from sliding or tipping.
- Webbed straps with tightening ratchets are some of the most secure, easiest-to-use tie-downs.
You can help keep roadways clear: report littering by calling 866-Litter-1.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!Read More
A truck accident lawyer will help you sift through the details of your trucking accident because determining the cause and liability can be very complicated. It is vital to understand the major reasons for trucking accidents and the relationships between the driver, owner and recipient and how they are connected to the truck, trailer and load. An attorney specializing in truck accidents can help reveal the particulars of your trucking accident and determine if you have a valid claim to present.
What are some of the common causes of truck accidents?
Driver error before and during the trip.
Truck drivers are 10 times more likely than other factors to cause an accident according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The study found that the action or inaction of the truck drivers caused 88% of all trucking accidents.
Factors leading to driver error include drug use, fatigue, distractions, inattention, speeding and unfamiliarity with the road. The biggest factor is fatigue and sleep deprivation often seen among long haul truckers.
Equipment problems/mechanical failures are the second highest cause of trucking accidents.
Defective tires (manufacturer).
Defective steering (manufacturer).
Defective side or rear lighting (manufacturer).
Brake failure caused by overuse or poor adjustments.
Tire blowouts caused by wear.
Improper securing of load.
Improper trailer attachment.
Traffic signal failures.
Determining who is responsible for a trucking accident is complicated, but there are federal laws and regulations governing the trucking industry that provide standards for drivers, owners and trucking companies that can help determine liability. Federal law stipulates that a company owning a trucking permit is responsible for any truck accident that occurs with its name displayed on the vehicle, whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
What do I do if I am involved in a truck accident?
Call a certified truck inspector (typically a member of the reconstruction division of the state police). Federal and state regulations require an inspection on any commercial truck and trailer involved in an accident before it is removed from the scene. The purpose of the report is to reveal the condition of the main mechanical parts of the truck and trailer and is separate from the police report of the accident.
Hold onto stored data. Similar to the “black boxes” used to store data in aircraft, the trucking industry uses boxes to record information such as the speed of the truck at the time of impact, patterns of speed, when brakes were applied and how long the driver was on the road without a break.
Large trucks are only involved in 3% of injury causing motor vehicle accidents but, sadly, in the last twenty years truck accidents have increased by 20%. Trucking accidents tend to cause much greater damage and injury due to their size.
If you were the victim, truck driver or owner of a truck involved in an accident causing injury, please contact a personal injury attorney specializing in truck accidents today! The attorneys at Bellingham’s Tario and Associates, P.S. are ready to help.