Accidents involving large trucks tend to cause a great deal of physical injury and property damage. The driver of a Coca-Cola tractor trailer side-swiped a bus and proceeded to drive into a buildinglast Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida found this out first-hand. Five people were injured when driver, Calvin Hollis, lost control of the big rig after, he says, a wasp flew into the window causing him to be distracted.
News reports suggest that the victims are reported to have sustained minor injuries and are expected to recover. Discount Seafood Market, a business that has been in that community for 70 years, did not fare as well. According to news accounts, the building hosted the market on the lower level and apartments on the upper level. The apartments were in the process of being renovated. Once the truck was removed from the structure, the building began to crumble and was demolished by the end of the day. There is no word yet on whether the owners will seek to rebuild or if this landmark is gone for good.
Representatives from Coca-Cola released a statement saying “Our primary concern is the well-being of those involved in the accident.” The statement went on to say, “We are providing complete cooperation to the authorities as they investigate this incident.”
Investigators on the scene reported noticing that none of the windows on the rig were open, forcing people to question how the wasp got into the cab of the truck. Also worth mentioning is Hollis’ reported driving record which shows three speeding citations, one for reckless driving, and two others which were the results of crashes in which he was involved. This most recent citation is for careless driving.
We all share the road with these trucks and there has been a lot of news lately about the increasing number of tractor-trailer involved crashes. For those of us driving passenger vehicles, the idea of having an accident with one of these behemoths is a scary prospect. And one which, statistics show, has an increased chance of leading to a fatality just based on the size and weight of the truck.
Who is protecting us and enforcing legislation ensuring tractor trailer drivers are following legally mandated licensure and safety requirements? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a separate entity within the Department of transportation and they are charged with reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving big rigs and buses.
To fulfill their mission, the FMCSA:
The FMCSA requirements are all encompassing and require compliance from states, law enforcement, industry, and individual drivers for our roadways to be kept safe. The states hold the brunt of the responsible in oversight and enforcement, however, each stakeholder plays an important role in ensuring accurate reporting and overall adherence to regulations.
Among the policies stakeholders must fulfill are the following:
Again, these are just some of the measures in place to protect the public. It does make you rest a bit easier knowing that these licenses are not given out haphazardly and there are many inputs necessary for drivers to attain and maintain licensure.
In a previous post, our firm outlined ways in which passenger vehicle drivers could avoid accidents with 18-wheelers. Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and we all have a role in making sure accidents are avoided when possible.
Just as the drivers of smaller vehicles are to watch out for big rigs, there are steps commercial drivers can take to decrease their chances of entanglements with the driving public.
The Steinger, Iscoe & Greene family hopes that as you travel on our highways and byways, you use focus, consideration and adherence to the rules of the road to guide you to your destinations. It is also our sincere hope that you and your family members always arrive safely and without incident.
Our work has put us in a unique position to see the end-results of horrific accidents; many of which could have been avoided if precautions had been taken. We also realize that even the best intentions can sometimes fall short and people can get injured. If you have been in an accident and would like to get a confidential, expert case evaluation, we are just a phone call or a click away.