A collision between a car and a tractor-trailer on the interstate through Petersburg, Virginia (VA), sent five passengers in the big rig to hospitals with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. The wreck happened just south of the interchange between I-95 and I-85 at around 12:40 pm on May 30, 2017.
State Police investigators told reporters that the driver of the car crashed into the front right tire of the semi, causing the big rig driver to lose control and run up onto a Jersey wall in the median. The tractor-trailer rolled over onto its side in the path of oncoming traffic, but no secondary crashes occurred.
The at-fault driver and five people in the truck required medical treatment for injuries. It is unclear whether the person in the car will be charged for causing the crash or inflicting injuries. It is well-recognized, however, that improper lane changes by people in smaller vehicles cause hundreds of commercial truck wrecks each year.
In its Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2015 publication, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration listed the following “driver-related factors and violations” as among the leading causes of deadly collisions:
- Distraction/inattention (Cell Phone, Lost in Thought, Eating, etc.)
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Careless Driving
- Failure to Keep in Proper Lane
- Improper or Erratic Lane Changing
In a separate analysis, and looking just at negligent or reckless actions by car drivers, the Federal Highway Administration identified the three most-common “lane change or lane position problems” as
- Merging improperly into traffic, causing a truck to maneuver or brake quickly
- Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck
- Nearly striking the front or rear of a truck or trailer while changing lanes
Tractor-trailer operators have large blind spots and long braking distances. They rely in large part on the good judgment and attentiveness of people in the cars around them to prevent dangerous situations. Cruising alongside a big rig, waiting until the last second to merge or change lanes, and braking suddenly to turn or exit from the interstate all create dangers that commercial truck drivers may not be able to react to in time to avoid a deadly or injury-causing crash.
When errors by the driver of a smaller vehicle leads to tractor-trailer wrecks, the at-fault driver can be found responsible for paying compensation and damages for personal injuries. Working with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer would help the truck passengers hurt in this crash on I-95 in Petersburg get their medical bills and lost wages covered.