Before dawn on November 17, 2019, a tractor-trailer crested the peak of Afton Mountain. It was a cold Sunday morning, and as the driver descended through thick fog, he lost control. The massive truck overturned, sliding sideways and blocking both lanes. A large tour bus following the truck down the mountain was unable to stop in time and struck the middle of the truck. The incredible force of the impact ripped the trailer in half and scattered its cargo of US Mail across the lanes and surrounding countryside.
The Dangers of Massive Vehicles
Every day, we share our roads and highways with enormously powerful vehicles. The average tractor-trailer weighs about 80,000 pounds, more than twenty times the weight of a standard car. The average tour bus weighs 44,000 pounds, and any crash involving a bus is likely to put many more lives at risk.
The sheer size of tractor-trailers creates uniquely dangerous situations on the road. There are very few other vehicles that can cause serious damage to a fully-loaded tour bus. Under slightly different circumstances, it would have been all too easy for the tour bus to overturn or plunge off the roadway. Incredibly, this bus bisected the tractor-trailer, stayed on its wheels, and was stopped by a guardrail before it could leave the paved surface.
On that November morning, the worst possible consequences did not come to pass. No one was killed. However, 20 bus passengers required transport to various area hospitals, with injuries ranging from minor to serious. The drivers of both vehicles received evaluation and treatment at UVA Medical Center. This incident demonstrates the incredible forces at play when busses and tractor-trailers travel on our highways and the high level of danger for anyone nearby during a tractor-trailer or bus accident.
The Importance of Investigation
In the aftermath of such an event, it is vitally important that the victims act quickly to make sure evidence is preserved. It is standard practice for a trucking company’s insurer to go to work within minutes of an accident to secure evidence that may help its truck driver avoid accountability for any negligence (Read more in our blog, “Trucking and Tractor-Trailer Accidents: Prompt Investigation is Essential”).
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a collision involving a tractor-trailer, an attorney can help you preserve evidence that will assist in getting the fair compensation you deserve. That evidence includes:
- skid marks,
- black box data,
- dashcam footage,
- cellphone records,
- GPS data and other forms of digital records,
- drug testing results,
- impact marks, and
- driver’s logs.
Some of this evidence will not last. Skid marks and memories will fade, data may be lost or overwritten, and witnesses can move away or become otherwise unavailable.
In addition to experienced and knowledgeable attorneys, the Allen Law Firm has a respected in-house investigation team comprised of former police officers who possess the necessary skills to gather information relating to these crashes. Schedule a free consultation today.