Trucking Accident Kills Grad Student

A dangerous truck accident in Fresno recently took the life of a 22-year-old graduate student, Ana Tapia, according to an article in the New York Daily News. Trucking accidents can be particularly deadly given the size and weight of these vehicles. If you or someone you love was injured or killed in an automobile accident, you should discuss your case with a San Diego truck accident attorney. You may be entitled to compensation.

Tractor-Trailer “Flying Wheel” LOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAeads to Fatal Injuries

How did the recent trucking accident happen in downtown Fresno? It appears Tapia’s car was hit by a “flying wheel from a tractor-trailer.” Tapia had been behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla on Highway 99 when the wheel crushed her. Reports indicate that the wheel “rolled into her lane,” and then “smashed into the roof and driver’s side” of her vehicle. Investigators are not sure precisely how the wheel came detached from the vehicle, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) continues to look into the matter. Some commentators described the scene as a “freak accident.”

But should we expect better safety inspections for tractor-trailers like the one involved in the deadly accident?  Should we need to anticipate that the wheels of big rigs can simply come dislodged when a traffic collision occurs? The victim was working toward a master’s in public health when she was killed, and those who knew her emphasize that “she was on her way to making a huge impact,” according to an article in the Fresno Bee.

Truck Accident Safety and Statistics

Big rigs tend to weigh 10,000 pounds or greater, so it is no wonder that these vehicles often cause fatal injuries when they are involved in automobile crashes. Indeed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) emphasizes that large trucks often weigh “20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles,” and they are also “taller and have greater ground clearance than cars.” What does this information mean? In short, “lower-riding vehicles can slide beneath truck trailers, with deadly consequences.” And while federal safety standards require these trucks to have underride guards, the IIHS estimates that many of these guards often fail in low-speed accidents.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), fatal truck accidents happen more than ten times per day—every day—in the United States. Each year, these collisions result in about 4,000 deaths nationwide. And even when passengers are not killed in these dangerous crashes, more than 100,000 suffer serious injuries each year.

Based on data from the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of serious and fatal truck accidents rose over the last several years. What is causing the increase in trucking accidents? The IIHS predicts that three major factors are at work in fatal truck collisions:

  •      Driver speeding;
  •      Driver fatigue; and
  •      Truck braking capability.

If you are in a smaller passenger vehicle, it is important to stay alert while you are behind the wheel. But if you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced San Diego truck accident lawyer. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more.

Image Credit: Alvimann via morgueFile

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