An unfortunate accident in Southern California yesterday left two people with “moderate” injuries and a bunch of unanswered questions about the truck driver at fault.
The truck accident occurred in Ventura County on Highway 101, where a police officer was dealing with a pedestrian on the side of the highway. It is unknown why the pedestrian and officer were stopped on the shoulder, but they were both in front of the officer’s patrol car. A semi-truck suddenly drifted from the right lanes onto the shoulder and collided with the police car, sending it hurdling into the two unsuspecting people.
The officer, pedestrian and truck driver were all hospitalized in the wake of the truck accident (the latter with only minor injuries), which is now under investigation. Both the truck driver and the owner of the big rig will be under intense scrutiny after this crash, which seems to indicate negligence.
For example, the truck had no cargo. The vehicle was not under any weight constraints which could have made it susceptible to erratic, sudden and uncontrollable movements. If a mechanical failure contributed to the crash, then either the driver or trucking company could be at fault. The driver is supposed to walk around his or her vehicle before making a trip to check the condition of the truck; and the company is supposed to ensure that their vehicles are in proper working order.
Another possibility is that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, an all too common occurence that, again, makes both the driver and truck company liable. Drivers are supposed to observe federally mandated rest laws; and their employers are supposed to uphold those laws. If a breach in the rest laws is found, both could be liable for the injuries to the victims.
Source: Ventura County Star, “Three injured during crash of CHP vehicle and big rig crash on Highway 101 in Ventura,” June 4, 2013