The multi-vehicle pile-up near Ooltewah in June last year that one police officer called “the worst accident he had ever seen” was caused by a deadly cocktail of lack of sleep and methamphetamine use by a tractor-trailer driver according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report.
The accident happened when a Cool Runnings Express tractor-trailer failed to slow down and stop behind other traffic when entering a work zone on Interstate 75. The truck crashed into the back of a Toyota Prius, which then caused a domino effect, resulting in a final fatality count of six people dead and another four badly injured. Nine vehicles were involved in the accident.
A report has just been issued by the NTSB which points the finger squarely at the driver of the tractor-trailer. The report alleges that the driver had not slept for 40 hours in the period leading up to the crash and his blood contained significant traces of methamphetamine (speed).
It was the combination of the drug use and the fatigue that meant that the driver was too slow to respond to the movement of traffic in front of him on that deadly day.
The NTSB report indicates that the truck company that employed the driver failed to screen the driver’s job application and previous record before deciding to employ him. It appears that the driver had a previous record of drug use and truck accidents which, if it had been noticed, may have made a difference to everyone involved in the crash, as it would have been unlikely that he would have been driving.
The NTSB says that the driver was probably using methamphetamine illegally as the drug is a controlled substance in the State of Tennessee. His actions in the period leading up to the accident were directly responsible for the accident happening, according to the findings.
Tractor-trailers and other large trucks are disproportionally involved in major accidents and fatalities in highway work zones. The NTSB says that the main causes of these sorts of accidents are: distracted driving, speeding and impairment by drugs or alcohol.
Data recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that, although truck accidents are no more common than any other type of vehicle accidents, based on the percentage of vehicle types out on the highways, truck accidents are by far and away more likely to lead to fatalities. This is only common sense when you think about it. Trucks, especially the 18 wheeler, big rig variety are much larger and heavier than most other vehicles. A crash involving a large truck is likely to lead to more casualties if the truck hits any other vehicles. NHTSA data also reveals that driver error is responsible for over 90% of truck accidents.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in the Nashville or Lebanon area, or anywhere else in Tennessee, and have been injured – you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the driver, the truck company, or whoever else was to blame for the accident.
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney at Keith Williams Law Group today. We will assess your accident, advise you of your chances of successfully negotiating a claim and fight tirelessly on your behalf. Call us at (615) 313-3999.