Certain stretches of California's highways are poorly lit at night. Drivers who are otherwise diligent may not be able to see a hazard in front of them. Authorities think that darkness may have contributed to a recent truck accident.
An 18-wheeler hauling pipes on Interstate 10 was passing other vehicles. Somehow, the driver lost control of the truck when it veered onto the dirt shoulder of the highway. The truck jack-knifed and pipes were thrown across the interstate.
Unsuspecting vehicles hit the pipes, including a bus traveling from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles. The bus ended up overturned at the bottom of an embankment. Four of the passengers on the bus suffered fatal injuries.
There were also seven passengers who suffered serious injuries. Their current conditions are not known. Neither the driver of the truck nor the driver of the bus suffered any injuries in the crash.
California Highway Patrol officers reported that poor lighting on that stretch of highway could have made the pipes hard to see. Drivers would have little time, if any, to avoid them. That fact may be of little consolation to the families of the deceased passengers and those who suffered serious injuries.
Regardless of what happens with the official investigation, the victims and the families of the deceased victims retain the right under California law to file civil actions against the party or parties deemed responsible. If a court finds that the actions of those parties caused or contributed to the death or injury of the victims, damages may be awarded. Those damages could help defray the costs sustained as a result of this truck accident.
Source: ABC News, "4 Victims of California Bus Crash Identified", Brian Skoloff and Christopher Weber, May 22, 2014