Some students in western Pennsylvania got quite the scare on their way home from school recently after a coal truck slammed into the rear of their school bus. Fifteen students were on the bus. Four of them received minor injuries.
Public Safety Director Randall Brozenick told Philly.com that one student also had to be transported to the hospital after receiving a gash above her right eye. Neither the driver of the school bus or coal truck were injured.
According to TribLive.com, the accident happened after the school bus made a stop with its red lights flashing. However, police stated that the truck driver didn’t immediately see it “due to heavy snowfall.” The truck ended up hitting the bus from behind, sliding over an embankment and struck a utility pole. The school bus blocked traffic in both directions.
During the time of the accident, witnesses described the snow as blinding, making it nearly impossible to see practically anything. No charges have been filed in the collision.
While we here at Leizerman & Associates are certainly relieved that no one was seriously injured during this accident, it serves as a reminder that both commercial and non-commercial drivers must be vigilant at all times during hazardous weather.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 25 percent of all traffic accidents in this country are weather-related and occur during conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, or fog. Annually, this equates to:
- 6,250 fatal crashes
- Over 480,000 injury crashes
- Nearly 961,000 in property-damage only crashes
If weather conditions make it nearly impossible to see while driving, pull over and wait for the snow, rain or hail to pass. That goes for not only commercial drivers but for anyone who drives a car, SUV or any other small vehicle. It’s really just all about using common sense.
In addition, it’s the law. Federal regulation 49 CFR 392.14 requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles to reduce their speed during limited visibility and traction. It also requires them to stop when conditional are “sufficiently dangerous,” as they obviously were in this crash.
This rule covers visibility and traction. Even when visibility isn’t a problem, drivers must still practice caution and good judgment. Rain or snow can make the roadways rather slippery, increasing the odds of a driver losing control of his or her vehicle. It’s best to drive under the speed limit during adverse weather conditions.
Our law firm has handled many cases involving victims injured or killed by truck and bus drivers acting negligently when the weather conditions warranted extra caution on the roadways. If you would like to consult with us about a potential case, give us a call today at 1-800-628-4500 for a free consultation.