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Runaway trailer kills 7

Wednesday evening, four children and three adults were killed when a runaway trailer filled with crushed cars careened violently into a minivan, ripping it apart. The father of two of the children was transported to a local hospital, in good condition.

The rig was headed south about 25 miles outside of Syracuse, New York when the trailer became disconnected and crossed the center line, striking the northbound minivan. The force of the impact tore the minivan apart, and both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the roadway. USA Today reports that “[T]he van’s driver saw the trailer coming and drove off the road trying to avoid it.” Neither of the truck’s two occupants was injured.

According to The Washington Post, “In New York, trucks are required to be inspected at least once a year and are subjected to random roadside checks by the Department of Transportation or state troopers. Drivers are also required to do a ‘walk-around’ inspection of their trucks every time they make a trip, checking — among other things — tire pressure and condition, brakes and the coupling between truck and trailer.”

Ohio tractor-trailer inspections

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol work to ensure that commercial motor vehicles (CMV) are traveling safely throughout Ohio. PUCO inspectors regularly conduct safety inspections on CMVs. Each safety inspection follows a thorough process to make sure that the driver and CMV meet the necessary state and federal regulations. Vehicles and drivers that fail to meet these regulations may be placed out-of-service and cannot continue operating until they comply with the regulations.

If no critical violations are discovered during the inspection, the inspector issues a decal from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) for the vehicle or vehicles. These decals exclude the vehicles from future inspections for up to three months and are recognized in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

National Statistics

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2010 large trucks were involved in:

  • 3,484 fatal crashes
  • 58,000 injury crashes
  • 214,000 property damage crashes

Operating commercial vehicles safely takes training, practice, skill, patience and attention. These big rigs are a necessary part of our nation’s transportation system, which most often runs safely. But as the catastrophe in New York reveals, even the slightest slip-up behind the wheel of a big rig can quickly balloon to monstrous proportions and seriously injure anyone who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the Ohio commercial vehicle and semi-truck accident lawyers at Elk & Elk can evaluate your situation and study whether you have a claim.

It’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling 1-800-ELK-OHIO or taking a few minutes to complete our free, no-obligation online contact form.