Truck drivers and the companies they work for have an enormous responsibility every time a truck is on California's roadways. The vehicles must be in good mechanical condition, and the drivers must remain vigilant. When either or both of those factors are not present, a truck accident can easily occur.
Recently, a truck driver who had only been on-the-job for approximately three months was traveling Highway 17 with two trailers loaded down with dirt. As the truck approached a section of the highway with a grade of six percent, he realized that the traffic ahead of him had significantly slowed. However, the truck was going much too fast to stop in time.
When he attempted to stop the fully loaded truck, his brakes apparently began to smoke and did nothing to slow his approach toward the pack of cars. As he collided with vehicles, his cab separated from the trailers, which also struck vehicles. By the time all of the affected vehicles came to a stop, seven people suffered injuries. One person was killed.
As part of the investigation into this 10-car pileup, the maintenance records of the truck will come into question. The company that owns the truck reported it was inspected that day and that the California Highway Patrol had inspected it as well just two weeks prior to the accident. It could take some time to determine whether the inexperience of the driver or the condition of the truck played a larger role in the crash.
Depending on the severity of the truck accident injuries suffered by those that were injured, personal injury claims may be filed against the driver and his employer. Further, the family of the deceased victim may also file a wrongful death claim against all of the parties deemed responsible for the death of their loved one. Damages may be awarded in successfully litigated claims comparable to those typically awarded in these types of tragedies.
Source: ktvu.com, "All lanes reopen hours after Santa Cruz pileup on Highway 17", July 10, 2014