The tragic nationally-covered news of a fatal truck collision with a bus last week in New Mexico has again revealed that maintenance of commercial vehicles on the roads makes a difference, and one that can save or take lives. The truck, which was traveling on the New Mexico highway I-40, apparently blew a tire and jack-knifed as a result. The truck driver said one of the front tires blew out and he lost control of his vehicle. This caused the truck to cross over the median into oncoming traffic, hitting a Greyhound bus in a head on collision. Eight bus passengers and the driver have lost their lives. The driver of the truck survived the crash. Although the accident is under investigation, the initial conclusion is that the tire blow-out caused the crash.
The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) and local authorities are investigating the cause of this horrific crash. The impact of this collision caused catastrophic damage to the front and side of the bus. The authorities will be looking at every aspect of what happened. The truck’s tires will all be inspected as will the truck’s mechanics. The truck involved in the crash has the mandatory tracking device that all trucks are required to maintain. This device will help investigators to learn about the truck driver’s hours and driving patterns. The road itself, the median and whether there was an issue with either of those will also be evaluated to determine whether these were factors and if there is any way the accident could have been avoided.
Sadly, reports indicate that the bus driver, who lost his life in the crash, provided safety information for the passengers who all had a three-point seat belt on this bus. Seat belts on buses have long been considered a valuable safety measure that helps prevent passengers from being ejected on the impact of a crash. This crash literally sliced off the side of the bus, which made it essentially impossible for those sitting in seats most affected by the impact to survive it. It is unclear whether seat belts helped to save lives in this crash.
Within days of this deadly crash, a lawsuit had already been filed on behalf of at least two survivors from a crash that has taken eight lives. The lawsuit claims that the trucking company that operated the truck and the driver, were negligent. The lawyers involved had already found several lawsuits against the trucking company which is based in California, for safety violations. The lawsuit raises issues regarding the maintenance of the truck as well as the mandatory inspections required for commercial trucks.
The families of those who lost their lives might also bring wrongful death suits against the trucking company and the driver. Those who have been injured might also sue the parties involved for their injuries, loss of work and pain and suffering. Undoubtedly, there was great emotional distress with many of those who were involved or witnessed this crash. Greyhound has initiated its own investigation of this crash and is cooperative. It appears that the Greyhound bus was not at fault for this crash, however it is possible that more could have been done to secure the bus from having its entire side clipped off during this crash. It remains to be seen what the investigators find and conclude about the causes of this crash and the lawsuits will determine who is at fault.
Like the rest of the nation, we are saddened by such tragic outcomes on our highways. As always, the lawyers at Scholle Law are available to help in times of need for those seriously injured or fatally injured in Atlanta truck accidents. Please contact us for a free evaluation. Rest assured, you will not pay us until you are paid.