By John Cooper, Trucking Wrongful Death Lawyer
Oversized loads have been making the wrong kinds of headlines in recent weeks after they were involved in two serious accidents.
In North Carolina 54 people were injured in an accident involving an oversized load and an Amtrak train when the load was stuck on the track as a train approached. A flat bed tractor trailer was transporting a modular building wrapped in blue plastic and jammed with electrical equipment, according to reports. The train struck the big rig and derailed, injuring passengers.
Last week an oversized load caused a deadly accident in central Texas when a big rig snagged an Interstate 35 bridge beam.
Later the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles reported that the tractor-trailer lacked the proper permit required for the load. Special permits are needed for oversized loads so the DMV can provide drivers with safe routes, the media reported.
“The motor carrier that struck the bridge did not have the legally required permit to carry an overweight load,” DMV spokesman Adam Shaivitz told the Austin American-Statesman last week.
The consequences of this mistake proved to be deadly. Clark Brandon Davis, of Arlington in Texas was killed. Truck driver Valentin Martinez and two other people were injured.
ABC 5 reported that no citations were immediately issued after last week’s accident. The big rig was owned by Lares Trucking, a company that “primarily hauls general freight, building materials, logs, poles and lumber,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Federal records found that Lares Trucking was the subject of no less than five random inspections in the past two years. The report said officials found defects significant enough to pull trucks out of service on two occasions. The media reports cited a defective “brake warning device” and for a cracked, loose or sagging frame.
However, the company owner Julian Lares told KVUE-TV that he was unaware that the bridge couldn’t be safely passed.
“It’s a new bridge. Why don’t they construct it more high?” he is quoted as saying.
Media reports mentioned three advisory signs that were posted at the bridge indicating clearance of 13 feet, 6 inches, according to Department of Public Safety officials. They estimated the load was 14 feet, 7 inches.
A trucking company can be liable for death or injuries if it lacks a proper permit to carry an oversized load. In cases such as this relatives of the deceased could sue the company as well as the driver’s insurance policy. It’s always tragic when companies that own dangerous big rigs fail to follow the rules, as appears to be the case in this instance, and other motorists become victims.
To find out more about liability in trucking accidents get a free copy of The Best Book About Virginia Trucking Accidents or call us at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation if you have been hurt in a trucking accident.