Gravel Truck Crash Near DC Injures Dozens

A March 19 gravel truck crash near Washington DC injured at least two dozen people, according to local media reports. 

WTOP in Montgomery County, Maryland reported that a big rig hauling gravel overturned on I-270 and lost its load of gravel and slate. Eighteen cars and trucks collided with the debris at 5:20 am, just as the morning work commute was beginning. The interstate, which is a major route into Washington DC, was closed for two hours.

Paramedics evaluated at least 24 injured drivers and passengers, with several taken to local hospitals.

Our View

Tractor trailer drivers hold a commercial driver’s license. They have a higher obligation to drive their rigs in a safe and professional manner. Unfortunately, some truckers for various reasons do not always do so, and cause very serious accidents.

There are some basic driving procedures that truck drivers need to follow to avoid accidents. First, many truck crashes involve speeding. Truckers usually are paid by the mile. This causes some of them to drive too fast for conditions as they want to make more money by getting to their destination as quickly as possible.

Second, truckers need to be very cautious when they enter turns and curves. The posted limit for most curves and turns is there for smaller vehicles. Trucks fully loaded with a massive payload need to go slower. It is unclear what caused the above crash, but a fully loaded gravel truck entering a turn too quickly could easily lose control.

Third, distracted driving is a major problem with all drivers, and with truckers, it is even worse. Modern distractions such as cell phones, GPS systems and tablets cause many accidents. Also, many truckers push themselves beyond human limits, and may fall asleep behind the wheel. It is very important for truckers to keep their attention on the road, and to always be well rested. The fact that this crash happened at around 6 am suggests that fatigue might have been a factor.

In the worst cases, a trucking accident can be fatal, thus it is very important for truckers to take their driving duties seriously. Our Virginia personal injury attorneys worked on a case with a $3.5 million settlement several years ago where a truck rear ended our clients’ slow moving vehicle on the interstate in Norfolk. Our attorneys proved that the trucker was breaking several key safety rules from the state’s CDL manual.