A fatal collision on I-26 through Laurens County, South Carolina (SC), on November 17, 2015, is being blamed on a negligent or reckless lane change by a tractor-trailer driver. The crash involved the big rig and a car, and the woman in the smaller vehicle lost her life after suffering multiple blunt force traumas and becoming trapped in the wreckage of her car.
News of the deadly crash near the exit to Whitmire Highway and the town of Joanna came at the same time that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released data showing that semis and buses are involved in a higher percentage of wrecks that result in deaths than other types of vehicles. As summarized by the trade journal FleetOwner, the agency has learned that in 2013, "Heavy trucks and buses accounted for about 4 percent of registered vehicles and 9 percent of total miles driven, but were involved in 13 percent of accidents and 13 percent of overall traffic fatalities."
The causes for this overrepresentation of commercial vehicles in fatal traffic accidents are many. The most obvious may be that what big rigs hit, they often destroy. Operator error explains many truck and bus crashes, as well, with fatigue brought on by long shifts and inadequate rest leading to many negligent and reckless actions. A lane change or merging accident like this one in South Carolina can also occur simply because the trucker or bus driver has large blind spots and cannot see nearby cars.
Police did not immediately file charges against the tractor-trailer driver who hit and killed the woman in the car on I-26. Even if no clear traffic violation is identified, the truck driver may still be liable for failing to exercise proper care and caution while moving over on the interstate. When their grief abates, the deceased victim's family may want to consult with a Carolina wrongful death attorney who has experience handling truck crashes.