Wapato Truck Accident Leaves Two Injured

A truck driver failed to stop for a red light last Friday at the intersection of West Wapato Road andI-97, according to the Washington State Patrol, as reported by the Yakima Herald.

As a result, the truck plowed into a passenger vehicle driven by a 23-year-old Wapato man. Both the driver of the passenger vehicle and his 21-year-old passenger, another Wapato resident, were taken to Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center. The vehicle struck by the tractor-trailer, a 1999 Plymouth Neon, was totaled. Not surprisingly, the semi-truck was driven from the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was cited for failing to stop for a red light.

Yakima-Area Truck Accidents

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, there are close to 10 million large trucks registered in the United States, representing approximately three percent of all vehicles registered in the United States. Large trucks, however, are involved in roughly 10 percent of all fatal injury crashes in the United States. In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available from the FMCSA, there were 57 fatal truck crashes in the State of Washington.

Although we, as a nation, are heavily dependent on tractor-trailers and other large trucks to transport products and merchandise, they also present a serious risk to all motorists on the roadways. A semi-truck outweighs a passenger vehicle by about 16 to 1. Basics physics, therefore, tells us that a passenger vehicle almost always comes out the loser in a collision with a tractor-trailer.

Truck Crash Causes

We do not yet know why the truck driver in last Friday’s crash ran the red light. We do, however, know that there are some common reasons why large trucks are involved in crashes. Truck drivers are susceptible to the same distractions that all drivers are susceptible to, such as talking on a cell phone, eating, trying to read a navigational device, grooming, or sightseeing. Another common reason for a truck driver to be involved in a crash is driver fatigue. Truck drivers typically drive long hours at a time, often without adequate sleep in between trips. Many drivers are pressured to keep unrealistic delivery schedules or are encouraged to push on those extra few miles because their pay is dependent on the number of miles they travel in a given week.

Although there are numerous federal laws in place that are intended to prevent truck drivers from driving past the point of fatigue, some drivers ignore the laws. In fact, some trucking companies even look the other way when a driver ignores the laws. Along the same line, some drivers turn to illegal or prescription drugs to try and stay alert behind the wheel. In some cases, these drugs can have the opposite effect or can otherwise impair a truck driver’s ability to perform well on the roadway.

Who Is Responsible When A Truck Crashes?

When a large truck crashes, fault must be determined. Of course, the driver of a large truck is not always at fault in an accident; however, if the driver was at fault, or negligent, then there may be a number of different parties that share the responsibility. Along with the driver, the company for which the driver works, the shipper or broker, the intended recipient of the shipment, or even the manufacturer of the truck itself could share in the fault, or responsibility, for the accident. The specific facts and circumstances of the accident will ultimately determine who was responsible, or negligent, in the accident.

If you have been injured in a Yakima-area truck accident, or have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of a Yakima-area tractor-trailer accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. You should consult with a Yakima truck accident attorney as soon as possible to determine what legal options you have.

The Washington State truck accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.