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Case Study: Obligations That Must Be Met Before Hauling a Load

Trucking companies have immense responsibility. This is because the vehicles they operate and manage are often heavy-duty tractor-trailers that can decimate a car in a single blow. So, trucking companies must take sufficient precautions to prevent truck accidents.

Sadly, however, trucking companies don’t always do their due diligence, and such negligence can cause a devastating accident, like the one that occurred on Highway 17 in July 2014.

The July 2014 Crash on Highway 17

On July 10, 2014, our client Ellie Amarlou was severely injured in a catastrophic multi-car collision while traveling northbound on Highway 17. A big rig hauling two trailers filled with dirt, weighing nearly 80,000 pounds, and traveling at 70 miles per hour smashed into a line of traffic near an exit in Los Gatos, California. Ten cars were destroyed, several motorists were injured, and one person lost his life.

A series of missteps and negligence contributed to this crash. First, the truck involved in the crash had longstanding and uncorrected braking-related deficiencies. In fact, the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) determined the vehicle was completely unfit for operation and should have been deemed “out of service” on the day of the subject collision. Six of the ten brakes were worn past the allowable limits, which caused massive brake failure on the truck’s descent down Highway 17.

Additionally, there was a lack of driver experience and a lack of proper driver training. The truck driver involved in the crash, Ravinderpal Singh, shockingly only had one month of truck driving experience prior to the incident. Given the fact that this route was over mountainous terrain and involved hauling a heavy load, it is completely inexcusable that the trucking company had such an inexperienced driver on the job.

Such negligence is unforgivable and has left our client, and many others, suffering from the long-term consequences of this trucking company’s decisions.

How Trucking Companies Can Ensure a Safe Ride

Responsible trucking companies know what they have to do to ensure a safe ride for their drivers and everyone else on the road. These measures include the following:

  • Perform regular inspections. Trucks, and any vehicle for that matter, are large machines that require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure they continue to operate safely. During an inspection, a mechanic should check the truck’s brakes, tires, electrical system, and more.
  • Test and swap out the brakes regularly. Trucks’ brakes experience an immense amount of wear and tear. It’s vital that trucking companies have their fleets’ brakes checked often and replaced when necessary.
  • Make sure the truck is loaded within the weight limit. Every truck has a weight limit beyond which it cannot be driven safely. A truck’s cargo must be weighed and loaded properly before the truck starts its route.
  • Check the hook-ups. Tractor-trailers are just that—trailers. This means that a connection, or a hook-up, exists between the truck’s cab and the trailer. It’s vital that this hook-up be checked regularly for dust, rust, ice, or anything else that may make it unstable and cause the trailer to detach from the cab.

Injured in a Truck Accident? We’re Here to Help

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, our San Jose personal injury attorneys can help you identify any and all liable parties and recover the compensation you need for medical bills and lost wages. We understand how difficult this time can be, and we want to help you through it as efficiently as possible.