Shortly before much of a box truck wound up dangling off the side of the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel in Suffolk, Virginia (VA), its operator had driven into the back of a car that had slowed down while approaching a traffic backup. That initial rear-end collision left the woman in the smaller vehicle injured and sent the commercial truck out of control. According to WAVY-TV 10, the trucker struck a jersey wall, which peeled away much of the cargo portion of the rig. He did not get hurt, but police cited him for following too closely.
The accident could have been much worse, but my decades of experience helping truck crash victims also leads me to suspect it was probably also completely avoidable. Slowed and stopped traffic is more common than flee-flow on the MMBT. This is true of nearly every such span in this area and across the country. Experienced drivers, which anyone holding a commercial driver's license is required to be, should be prepared to reduce speed and stop completely when going across the MMBT.
With inexperience likely ruled out as an explanation for the wreck, investigators must consider speeding, distraction, fatigue and drug or alcohol use. Each are leading causes for all accidents, but operators of commercial vehicles are particularly prone to using phones, navigation guides and other handheld devices that take their eyes and minds off the road. And even though the accident on the MMBT occurred at lunchtime, lack of sleep is a job hazard for many truckers.
The exact cause of the crash probably matters little to the woman who was struck from behind and injured. The lessons to be learned about risks to avoid for truck drivers can prove valuable, however.