The wrecks, and the 100-car-plus pileup in Fort Worth in particular, have led many to focus on the need for “de-icing” on roadways. To be sure, de-icing is helpful. But it’s not always practical—just a few days ago, for example, drivers were stuck on a Hempstead flyover for hours waiting for TxDOT crews to de-ice the road.
These road safety conversations are overlooking a key factor: commercial trucks. Look at the pictures and video from the deadly Fort Worth crash, and see just how many 18-wheelers were involved. One picture shows two tractor trailers with more than 20 cars crushed between them, highlighting just how much more devastation these trucks can cause compared to passenger cars.
The thing is, those trucks weren’t supposed to be on the road at all. The Texas commercial drivers’ license handbook tells truck drivers: “If the surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop driving as soon as you can safely do so.” That requirement tracks federal regulations, which require “extreme caution” in cases of snow, ice, or sleet, and require trucks to stop when the conditions are sufficiently dangerous.
In the Fort Worth wreck, the trucks were obviously on the road. And even if they did not have enough time to stop after noticing the ice, they certainly seem not to have slowed to a “crawl.” The failure to follow regulations may have caused, or at least contributed to, some of the six deaths that resulted.
If you observe a commercial truck driving too fast for conditions, or simply on the road when it shouldn’t be, the best policy is to avoid that truck as much as possible, including by pulling over if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to avoid one, and you or a loved one suffer injuries, an attorney who is knowledgeable about trucking safety regulations may be able to help.
If you have or a loved one have been a victim of an 18-wheeler collision, the personal injury attorneys at Wham & Rogers can help. Call 832-592-1108 for a free consultation.