A tractor-trailer operator has been charged with reckless driving after allegedly causing a four-vehicle wreck near Richmond, Virginia (VA) on the afternoon of July 10, 2015. The chain-reaction crash occurred right after state police stopped traffic on Route 288, just north of the interchange with Route 360. Those federal highways are also known locally as, respectively, the World War II Veterans Memorial Highway and Hull Street Road.
According to news reports, the semi driver swerved onto the shoulder to avoid slamming into the line of suddenly motionless vehicles in front of him. He could not brake sufficiently, however, to stop before running into the back of a car that had also pulled out of traffic. That car jumped forward into the bumper of an SUV, and the big rig continued onward, sideswiping a second car and trapping the SUV under its trailer.
All the smaller vehicles sustained extensive physical damage. Only the person behind the wheel of the SUV required hospital treatment for injuries. While it is unclear whether the trucker had been speeding, following too closely or distracted in the moments before the wreck, investigators did determine that he failed to keep the tractor-trailer under control.
Highway traffic can slow or come to a complete halt at any moment. All drivers must remain alert and give themselves enough time and distance to respond safely when that happens. Commercial truck drivers carry higher duties for this simply because the size and weight of 18-wheelers make them difficult to slow down and stop.