In 2012, there were 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks—an increase of 18 percent from 88,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
You can bet that some of those accidents were due to distracted driving. According to Louisiana State Police, that seemed to be the case on Tuesday when a big rig driver overturned his 18-wheeler while driving along the interstate.
Investigators say the accident happened after the driver got distracted by his Chihuahua. When firefighters responded to the scene, they reportedly found the 18-wheeler on its side on an I-12 exit ramp. The driver was able to get out on his own, but the dog died in the accident.
Troopers say they did not cite the driver, Gary Edmond Bessant of Rutledge, Tennessee. The truck was said to be hauling coffee for Folgers when it overturned while exiting a foggy I-12 west at Louisiana 434.
Luckily, there were no other vehicles involved in this accident; otherwise, the outcome likely would have been far worse. When an 18-wheeler or other heavy truck collides with passenger vehicles on the road, the consequences can be not only horrific but often fatal.
According to the FMCSA, more than 30 percent of fatal crashes involve some sort of driver error or negligence due largely to either speeding, distracted driving or failure to yield right of way.
We often associate texting or talking on the phone with distracted driving; however, it involves so much more than that. A pet, as in this case, can also be a distraction. Even taking your eyes off the road for only a second can have dire consequences.
While this driver lost his dog, it could have been much worse. Had the driver of this 18-wheeler injured another person on the highway, he and his trucking company would have very likely been the subject of a civil lawsuit. Depending on the extent of the other person’s injuries, the semi driver could have also faced criminal charges.
Law enforcement and safety advocates can’t stress it enough: distractions can kill. They have no place on the roadways when you’re behind the wheel driving. It’s so vital that a person’s full attention and eyes are devoted to the road at all times.
If you or someone you know have been injured by a commercial truck, call the truck accident attorneys at EJ Leizerman and Associates LLC today to learn how we may be able to help with your case. Consultations are free. You can reach us at 1-800-628-4500.