Large commercial vehicles like dump trucks can be deadly forces on the road, especially if drugs and/or alcohol are involved. Such a scenario played out in Heber, Utah, on October 20, 2018, when a dump truck traveling westbound crossed the highway median, striking an oncoming pickup truck in the opposite eastbound lane. Six men traveling inside the pickup all died from injuries sustained during the crash; three men were ejected from the pickup during the incident. In addition, two people in a Jeep were also injured when that vehicle attempted to avoid the crash and ended up rolling the vehicle instead.
Upon investigation, officers with the Utah Highway Patrol located open containers of alcohol and prescription pills inside the dump truck. The driver, 62-year-old Efrain Cardenas, suffered only minor injuries. The UHP booked him on suspicion of six counts of automobile homicide after his treatment. Officers working the scene noted that it was one of the most horrific accidents he had ever seen.
Unfortunately, crashes like these are not uncommon. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that in 2015, accidents involving dump trucks and cement trucks caused the second highest number of both injuries and fatalities among all large commercial vehicle accidents.
There are a number of reasons that these types of trucks are prone to devastating accidents. Their sheer weight and the uneven distribution of their mass lends them to potential problems, even at low speeds, including rollover accidents. In addition, drivers are often put under deadlines and restrictions that encourage them to speed. As allegedly played out in Utah in the incident discussed above, driver negligence can also play a part when the operator of the dump truck is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers operating while sleepy or tired, or drivers who are distracted by texting or talking on the phone are also known to cause accidents.
Because the dump truck sits higher up than a pickup truck or passenger car, the brunt of most injuries in this type of accident are incurred by the smaller vehicle. The driver of the truck is situated in a cab that is, for all intents and purposes, not impacted by the force of the collision. For this reason, the drivers of dump or cement trucks normally escape injury, even in instances like this one where six people died.
The fact is that even the most attentive and safest drivers on the road are subject to injury or fatality if they are unlucky enough to cross paths with someone who is not following the law or doing the right thing. If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, speaking with a Salt Lake City truck accident lawyer right away is important. Contact Jardine Law Offices P.C. for a free consultation and to discuss the particulars of your case and determine if bringing a truck accident claim is in your best interests.