California commuter train accident due to driver fatigue

Driving a truck is no easy task. They're massive vehicles that can be exceedingly difficult to maneuver and trucking companies often place tough deadlines on operators. That's why we have laws governing the amount of time a semi truck driver can be awake and on the road. When those regulations aren't followed, tragedy can strike.

It happened back in 2015 right here in Southern California. A truck driver had been working for nearly 24 hours straight and had just driven 17 hours from Arizona when he took a wrong turn and got stuck on a set of tracks for a local commuter train. For 12 minutes, the driver tried to free the truck from its position, but he was unable to and finally decided to run when the train was approaching.

The resulting crash killed the engineer and injured 32 passengers on the train.

The driver of the truck was charged with vehicular manslaughter, but according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, several factors played a role in the crash. At the time, the driver's navigation equipment didn't include information about railroad crossings, a key element that could have prevented him from turning onto them. Also, a student engineer was controlling the train and should have seen the truck up to a half a mile away. However, the student didn't start braking until a quarter of a mile away.

In a case like this one, an attorney would examine all the evidence and may be able to conduct his or her own investigation into the accident to help the victims get compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages.

Source: abcnews.go.com, "Truck Driver Fatigue Cited in California Train Crash," John Antczak, December 19, 2016

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