Truck Driver’s Excessive Speed, Fatigue and Drug Use Caused Fatal Multi-Car Accident
Tampa Tractor Trailer and Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys
On June 25, 2015, six people were killed and eighteen others were injured when a semi tractor-trailer caused a multi-vehicle accident when it slammed into the rear of a Toyota Prius while traveling at least 78 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour construction zone in Interstate 75 near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The truck driver was a new hire for a small trucking company based out of Kentucky. In fact, after passing a drug and alcohol test, the driver was hired on June 22, 2015, and started his run from Kentucky to Haines City, Florida, that same day. Just before his drop-off point in Florida, the truck driver attempted to pass another delivery truck but sideswiped the vehicle, which forced both trucks off the road. Florida Highway Patrol issued a traffic citation to the truck driver for careless driving. After repairing the tractor-trailer on the side of the road, the truck driver reached Haines City and logged himself as “off duty.” The truck driver had been on-duty for 50 consecutive hours. The regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limit the on-duty time of truck drivers to a maximum of 14 consecutive hours, Of that maximum time, the driver may only be behind the wheel for 11 hours before being required to take a minimum 10-hour break. After taking a 12-hour break, the truck driver got behind the wheel of the semi tractor-trailer to start the 769-mile trip back to Kentucky. After being on the road for 15 hours, the truck driver reached Chattanooga, Tennessee, around 7:00 p.m. Less than ten minutes later, six innocent people were dead. The truck driver now awaits trial in Tennessee on thirteen pending charges, which includes six counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of narcotics, speeding and four counts of aggravated assault.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the tractor trailer driver’s excessive speed, failure to respond to slower moving traffic in a work zone, fatigue and methamphetamine use led to the deadly crash, which involved a total of nine vehicles. The NTSB has issued seven new safety recommendations as a result of its investigation of the crash. These recommendations address truck driver performance, drug-testing programs, inadequate truck driver license records and background checks, and an abundance of large trucks involved in work zone accidents.
The NTSB reiterated the need to reduce the number of tragic car and truck accidents caused by distracted, sleepy or fatigued, intoxicated and drug-impaired truck drivers. Speeding, distraction and impairment continue to be a major factor in the amount of fatal crashes. Thus, the NTSB recommended a need to determine the prevalence of substance use by commercial vehicle drivers and a need to amend the use of supplemental traffic control strategies and other devices, especially for work-zone projects. Furthermore, the NTSB noted the need for trucking companies to complete more thorough screens of prospective and current truck drivers. Having complete access to a driver’s full driving history, including involvement in other crashes, speeding incidents and incidents involving impaired driving, could prove to be effective at keeping high-risk and unsuitable truck drivers off the roads.
Capaz Law Firm — Tampa Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
It is no secret—semi tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks and vehicles create hazardous and dangerous conditions on our roadways. The wage of a truck driver is dependent upon the ability to fulfill delivery deadlines; thus, despite being tired and fatigued, truck drivers are often under personal and professional pressure to remain behind the wheel and on the road. Unfortunately, this causes too many truck drivers give into the temptation to drink alcohol and/or use drugs while operating their large trucks and commercial vehicles. The lives of innocent drivers are constantly at risk by commercial truck drivers.
If you or someone you know have been involved in an accident with a large truck, semi tractor trailer, or other large commercial vehicle, contact the Capaz Law Firm to speak with a Tampa trucking accident lawyer. Our Tampa injury accident attorneys are aggressive and dedicated to helping victims of truck accidents hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions. Contact the Capaz Law Firm at 813-440-2700 to speak with an experienced truck accident injury lawyer today.