A rear-end collision in Suffolk, Virginia (VA), sent two people to hospitals on the morning of November 7, 2017. The two-vehicle crash near the Pitchkettle Road exit from westbound U.S. 58 happened just after 10 am and involved a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer.
The semi struck the pickup from behind, but police did not release information about the cause of the wreck to news reporters. One of the injured individuals sustained severe injuries and needed to be taken by ambulance to Sentara Norfolk general Hospital for treatment. The other crash victim was treated in Suffolk at Sentara Obici Hospital.
For its 2007 Large Truck Causation Study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration analyzed reports from 963 crashes that resulted in 249 deaths and 1,654 injuries. Researchers discovered that the third most-common critical event -- or type of impact -- was “colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane,” which represented 22 percent of the wrecks studied.
Five years later, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reviewed “fault, unsafe driving acts, and total harm in car-truck collisions” and cited independent research that ranked the reasons for such wrecks. Out of 26 causes, these were found to be the most-frequent:
1. Driving inattentively (e.g., reading, talking on the phone, fatigue-induced
5. Unsafe speed (e.g., approaching too fast from the rear/misjudging truck’s speed
6. Following too closely
7. Failure to slow down in response to environmental conditions (e.g., fog, rain, smoke, bright sun)
Any of the reasons cited in the FHWA report could explain the rear-end collision on U.S. 58 in Suffolk. Once police determine why the wreck happened, the injured victims should be able to use the information to file personal injury insurance claims against the at-fault driver. And if that at-fault driver turns out to be the person driving the tractor-trailer, the trucking company may have some responsibility for paying compensation and damages.
Faulty brakes, inadequate training or ignoring restrictions on driver’s hours often set the stage for large truck crashes. When one of those underlying insufficient or illegal business practices exists, the trucking company that hired and supplied the truck driver can owe a duty to anyone injured due to its negligence or violations of applicable regulations. Consulting with a dedicated Virginia personal injury lawyer who has helped many victims of truck crashes will help the people hurt in Suffolk keep up to date with the investigation and explore all their legal options for holding the responsible parties accountable.