A tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 70 near Bonner Springs, Kansas, killed five people (http://www.kansascity.com/latest-news/article161523468.html). The victims were stopped in a work zone when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the cars at the back of the line. Highway signs had directed the vehicles to merge into the right lane to avoid the upcoming construction, but the driver of the tractor-trailer failed to slow down or stop.
“It’s just a freak thing that happened,” Lt. Mark Christensen of the Kansas Highway Patrol said. “What it boils down to is, the driver wasn’t paying attention ahead of him, or the road conditions, and he was just going too fast.”
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, rear-end collisions like the one shown in the above reenactment of the crash are the most common accidents in highway work zones. Speeding, following too closely, and inattentive driving are the primary causes of these crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that work zone fatalities have risen more than 20 percent since 2010. Total work zone deaths now exceed 700 per year in the United States, including between four and eight each year in Kansas.
Tom Whitaker, the executive director of the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, noted that all drivers should start to decrease their speed as soon as they see highway construction signs, but especially drivers of tractor-trailers because they take significantly longer to slow down. “Be prepared to stop,” Whitaker said. “Think ahead.”
Reenactments like the one above are upsetting to look at, but provide an example of the devastation a tractor-trailer can inflict on innocent motorists in regular vehicles. It is especially crucial to ensure that the drivers of these massive vehicles exercise caution when they hit the road. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. We only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.