Tractor-Trailer Hauling Cattle Drops Container on Highway

A container loaded with 68 cattle destined for a feedlot fell off a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 near Sunnyside, Wash., this month, killing 23 cattle, according to a news report. The container slid about 200 feet and landed on its side. A commercial tow truck righted the container while the cattle were still inside out of concerns that letting them out first would cause secondary accidents along the freeway.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the driver of the tractor-trailer was cited for failing to secure the load, defective equipment and driving too fast for conditions. After an inspection, the semi-truck was put out of service pending repairs.

The unnecessary death of the cattle is certainly disconcerting; however, the accident could have been considerably worse. Tractor-trailer accidents can turn deadly very quickly given the size and weight of the average semi-truck. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, there were 2,971 collisions involving large commercial trucks in 2010. They included 22 fatal accidents and 56 with serious injuries.

Factors in Tractor-Trailer Accidents

A tractor-trailer driver is required to hold a commercial driver’s license, which requires additional education, training and testing. But that does not mean a truck driver cannot commit an error while driving. In only a fraction of a second, an error can end or alter someone’s life. Common factors in large truck accidents include:

  • Fatigued driving — Long hours on the road can cause a driver to nod off at the wheel.
  • Distracted driving — Cellphones, navigational devices and other distractions can take a driver’s mind off the roadway or hands off of the wheel.
  • Alcohol/drug use — Even legal prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can affect a driver’s ability to drive safely.
  • Equipment failure — A tractor-trailer must be inspected regularly to ensure that equipment is in working order.
  • Speeding/reckless driving — Impossible deliver schedules often lead to speeding or reckless driving.

Consult a Washington State Injury Accident Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one or been injured in a Washington State tractor-trailer crash, you could be entitled to compensation. The Washington State truck accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help you get through the legal process and make sure that the party responsible for your injuries or loss is held accountable. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.