Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) November 10, 2014 – A truck driver's early-morning death on a busy New Jersey highway has added to a rising national trend.
Crashes involving a commercial vehicle can be among the deadliest traffic incidents on U.S. highways. But when more than one truck or other large commercial vehicle is involved in a collision, the consequences can be particularly destructive.
That was certainly the case in the early morning hours of October 13, when a multi-truck collision on the New Jersey Turnpike left one truck driver dead and the southbound lanes of the highway closed for hours.
At 3:36 a.m. near Exit 2 for Route 322 to Swedesboro in Gloucester County, a commercial truck overturned after it was rear-ended by a pickup truck. The pickup careened onto the right shoulder of the highway. A utility truck then slammed into the overturned semi, killing the driver of the former, according to New Jersey State Police. The driver of the other truck was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The three-vehicle collision prompted police to shut down the southbound New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 4 and divert traffic to Interstate 295. Police also said that another tractor-trailer overturned near Exit 4, leaving another person with minor injuries and contributing to the major traffic snarl leading up to the Monday morning rush hour in South Jersey.
Investigators remained at the scene through the morning to try to determine what caused the truck to overturn and trigger the deadly accident.
“Because federal regulations and laws govern the trucking industry, there will be a comprehensive investigation to determine whether, for example, this collision can be blamed on driver error or mechanical failure,” said Steven Petrillo, of Petrillo & Goldberg Law, a prominent Pennsauken, New Jersey, attorney whose firm specializes in commercial vehicle accidents. “And the probe becomes more complex with multiple vehicles, as well as a fatality, involved.”
From 2001 through the end of 2013, there were 361 traffic fatalities in Gloucester County, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Nationwide, there were 3,757 fatalities due to collisions involving large trucks in 2011, up from the 3,686 deaths recorded in 2010.
That increase was part of a 20 percent rise in trucking-linked fatalities during the last two decades, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s most recent statistics.
“It remains to be determined which relevant parties — including drivers, truck owners, truck lessors, and vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturers — will be held liable for the victim’s death on the New Jersey Turnpike,” Petrillo said. “More clear-cut at this stage, though, is the fact that the grim numbers on truck accident fatalities point to an increasingly serious problem in this country.”
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