With a notoriously high volume of vehicle traffic, Los Angeles sees car and truck accidents on a regular basis. This week was an exception only in that it saw two serious crashes involving semi trucks on Los Angeles freeways. These crashes are a good illustration of the risks that large trucks can pose to other motorists.
The first truck accident took place around 7:00 on Monday evening. A semi-truck caused a three-vehicle crash when it rolled over near downtown Los Angeles. The truck was carrying a load of metal pipes and the rollover threw this cargo across all lanes of traffic. It is unclear whether the pipes hit the two passing cars or if the truck itself struck them. Responders had to cut the driver out of the truck cab and he was hospitalized in critical condition.
Authorities have not said why the truck rolled over but some frequent problems could have been at work. Improper loading often leads to imbalanced cargos - when loads shift as a truck negotiates a turn, the force can easily throw a cargo container into a roll. Maintenance mistakes might have played a role as well. Proper care and repairs are necessary to keep truck tires in good condition - blowouts can also cause rollovers like this.
A second crash happened early this morning in Pasadena. The truck driver lost control of his vehicle after hydroplaning on a turn. As the truck swerved across all lanes of traffic, it crushed a small passing car. Fortunately, neither driver suffered serious injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents like this are a constant reminder that the trucking industry will probably always cause more than its fair share of crashes. No matter how carefully we regulate trucking companies, the process of hauling heavy materials at high speeds is inherently dangerous and mistakes are bound to cause injuries and deaths.
Sources: CBS Los Angeles, "WB 210 Freeway In Pasadena Reopens After Big Rig Crash," Jan. 24, 2013; Press-Telegram, "Big-rig driver critically injured in downtown Los Angeles freeway crash," Jan. 22, 2013