The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transportation Operation and Management, LLC, VDOT’s partner in emergency response for the Interstate 77 mountain tunnels, held a truck crash training exercise in early November. This vital training exercise gave first responders the training they need to respond to various tunnel accidents involving big rigs.
Some of the scenarios covered included a truck accident in the tunnel with a four hour delay on a holiday weekend, and a truck losing its load of logs in the tunnel on a snow day. Each crash scenario was discussed and reviewed by local police, firemen and first responders.
The training was held in part due to a tractor trailer fire in July 2014 that was in the East River Mountain Tunnel that shut it down to traffic that caused several days of delays that stretched all the way to North Carolina. Even more traffic problems occurred when big rigs tried to go over the East River Mountain but found that the road could not handle big trucks.
These mock trainings lead to changes in response, such as adding fire trucks, and trained fire staff for every tunnel. Each tunnel also has a radio system to improve communication for first responders in an emergency.
Our truck crash personal injury law firm is pleased to see that first responders in Virginia are holding training for these types of accident scenarios. When traffic gets bad during the holidays or weather worsens, there can be more truck crashes. We have worked on cases settled for millions of dollars involving careless truck drivers, so anything done to improve truck safety is a good thing. Many truck drivers and their companies are under pressure to get their deliveries to their destinations on time. It is very important for truck drivers to be given the time they need to get to their destination safely.
Car drivers should also bear in mind that they should never try to pass trucks in a tunnel. Maintain a safe distance and get through the tunnel safely before attempting to pass. Staying out of their blind spots especially in a tunnel is a smart move.