Although it happened in another state, a recent major truck accident that left four people dead on an interstate has attracted national media attention. The tragedy offers valuable lessons for truck drivers and other motorists in Northeast Wisconsin.
The 23-year-old semitruck driver who caused the accident faces four counts of vehicular homicide. However, police indicated that they do not suspect drugs or alcohol played a role in this crash and also do not believe that the driver intended to cause the crash. Police indicated that, for whatever reason, the truck driver could not stop his vehicle for a rush hour traffic jam on the local interstate. Witnesses say that they saw the truck moving at a high rate of speed in an emergency lane immediately prior to the accident. Video footage taken immediately before the accident seems to confirm this account.
Almost 25 cars and a handful of trucks were involved in the ensuing chain reaction collision. Several vehicles ignited. Why the trucker was not stopping or even slowing down for the traffic jam is not entirely clear. In addition to the four fatalities, six other victims were transported to nearby hospitals with injuries.
More so even than other drivers, truckers need to anticipate traffic slowdowns in plenty of time to stop safely. Such slowdowns happen often on the highways and freeways truck drivers use, particularly in urban areas during the morning and evening commutes.
It takes a lot longer for a truck to come to a stop, given their weight. Moreover, as this tragic case shows, a heavy truck that plows into stopped traffic can inflict catastrophic damage. Even the slightest bit of inattentiveness on the part of a truck driver can end in a fatal accident. Truckers and their employers need to make sure that vehicle brakes and other safety equipment are in proper working order to avoid semitruck accident injuries.