Truck drivers bear a much higher level of responsibility than most other motorists on the road. Trucks are large, heavy and slow to stop, making it difficult for truck drivers to respond to emergencies. The sheer size of an 18-wheeler means that other motorists almost invariably suffer greatly in the wake of an accident. For these reasons, truckers have a responsibility to always maintain safe following distance and to be constantly on alert for hazards on the roadway. This is not only a legal mandate, but a moral obligation to all other drivers on the road.
The hazards associated with trucking were made clear on March 25 on I-35 in the village of Salado, Texas. At around 11 a.m., a truckstruck a pair of overhead beams while driving under a bridge. The two beams became dislodged from the bridge and fell onto I-35 below.
Tragically, one of the beams fell onto a pickup truck, killing its driver. Three others were also hospitalized with injuries that were described as non-life threatening. Ultimately, the incident involved three big rigs and two pickup trucks.
Authorities say speed was likely not a factor in the collision. Instead, police are investigating whether the load itself was too tall for the bridge. After the accident, TxDOT stated that the overpass had a clearance of 14 and a half feet, though warning signs leading up to the bridge listed a clearance of 13 feet. The trucking company stated that they did not know the exact height of the trailer, which was a flatbed hauling a cherry picker.
Investigators will undoubtedly be investigating whether the driver was aware of the height of his load and whether the trucking company had received the proper permits to haul the cherry picker. Under normal circumstances, loads higher than 14 feet must be registered as “oversize” and take alternate routes.
Following a fatal road accident, the families of the victim often pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as a way to seek justice, improve roadway safety and seek compensation for emotional and financial losses. Unfortunately, wrongful death lawsuits against truckers and trucking companies are all too common on America’s highways.
Attorney Robert Greening, lead attorney of Greening Law, P.C., has more than 24 years of experience representing Texas residents in truck accident cases. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a trucker or trucking company, our firm is ready to help. To schedule a one-on-one consultation with attorney Greening, contact us online or call 972-934-8900.