Several people suffered injuries in a seven-vehicle pileup on Tidewater Drive in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). The chain-reaction crash occurred on the afternoon of January 8, 2016.
Police believe the accident started shortly after a man driving a tractor-trailer suffered a medical emergency and crossed into the lanes of oncoming traffic. The out-of-control semi originally collided with two cars, and the other vehicles crashed when their own drivers could not swerve or stop in time.
Sadly, the commercial truck driver died at the scene. The injured victims are expected to recover, but they will likely face large medical bills and, in some cases, difficult recoveries.
News reports did not include details on what physical problem befell the semi operator. Strokes, heart attacks and seizures are not uncommon for drivers of all kinds, but CDL holders are required to pass health exams on a regular basis to maintain their truck driving privileges. If records show that the tractor-trailer driver involved in this Norfolk crash did not have medical clearance, his employer could face significant legal liability.
But even if all the health checks were done, the semi driver would still have had an obligation to stay off the road if he was sick and at risk for losing consciousness. Drivers must be physically and mentally capable of maintaining control of their vehicles at all times. Any condition that impairs that ability, be it illness or intoxication or simple distraction, must be avoided.