Overturned Dump Truck Results in Fatality
In a recent incident showing numerous reasons why large trucks can be dangerous on the road, an accident resulted in one fatality, a fire, and an hours-long shutdown on the New Jersey Turnpike. A state trooper had a car pulled over for a traffic stop on the right side of the southbound Turnpike, near the 97 mile marker in Linden. A tractor trailer traveling in the right lane needed to get around the state trooper, and so merged into the center lane quickly. New Jersey’s Move Over law does, in fact, require that cars passing a police officer on the side of the road move to an adjacent lane, or drop to a speed below the limit. However, the tractor trailer moved into the center lane with what appears to have been too little notice to the dump truck, which was traveling in the center lane. In trying to slow his truck sufficiently to avoid colliding with the tractor trailer, the dump truck avoided hitting the tractor trailer, but lost control of the dump truck and swerved into a pillar upholding the Wood Avenue overpass. The dump truck overturned, killing its driver. The collision also caused the dump truck to catch on fire, causing emergency personnel to close the Wood Avenue overpass over concerns that the fire would damage the structure of the overpass. However, the Linden fire department was able to quickly extinguish the fire and confirm the structural integrity of the Wood Avenue bridge, reopening it to traffic that afternoon. Southbound traffic on the Turnpike was stopped for several hours while emergency personnel cleared the roadway.
Large trucks and tractor-trailers require much more time to come to a stop or to avoid a hazard in the roadway than do passenger vehicles. At freeway speeds, a fully-loaded tractor-trailer requires over 200 additional feet to come to a stop than does a passenger vehicle. Coupled with the greater risk of tipping in large trucks, something seen as rude but not necessarily dangerous like cutting into another lane without signaling can become deadly. In fact, unsafe lane changes cause approximately 9% of all motor vehicle accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a large truck or tractor trailer, contact an experienced attorney who knows how to prove liability against large trucking companies, where complicated legal questions are often at issue. Contact knowledgeable New Jersey personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for an evaluation of your claims, at 973-532-9681.