Family Fights for New Truck Law Following Fatal Crash

One Texas family is taking the pain from tragedy and fighting for lawmakers in Washington DC to pass a law that would require owners of tractor-trailers and other large trucks to take the measures to increase vehicle visibility.

In October 2018, an Austin mother was driving her daughter back to Texas A&M at approximately 3:30 a.m. after attending a music festival earlier in the day. The two were in a minivan traveling eastbound on the highway. The tanker had stopped at an intersection and began pulling out onto the dark highway, even though the victims’ vehicle had the right of way. The minivan slammed into the truck and both the 62-year-old mother and 19-year-old daughter were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims’ surviving family members say that had the tanker truck been illuminated, the mother would have seen the truck and would not have hit it. The family has been circulating a petition that asks the U.S. Department of Transportation to require tractor-trailers and tanker trucks to be painted in light colors and have lights down the side of the vehicles so other drivers can see them better at night, especially on roads that have little to no lights, reducing the risks of fatal truck crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency that has oversight over commercial trucks, including what standards for headlights, brake lights, taillights, and reflectors trucks are required to have. If a truck accident occurs because these regulations are not followed, the trucking company could be deemed liable for the accident. However, there are no current regulations in place by the FMCSA to require the type of lighting that the victims’ family is seeking in their petition. And according to data compiled by the FMCSA, almost 37 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happen between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Other Trucking Violations That Cause Truck Accidents

While issues with lighting and visibility are one of the common causes of truck accidents, the following are other causes that we see in the cases we handle at our Virginia truck accident firm:

  • Truck drivers operating their vehicles more than the hours of service allowed by the FMCSA
  • Trucking companies hiring drivers who are inexperienced or have bad driving records
  • Trucking companies failing to test truck drivers on a regular basis for drug use
  • Trucking companies failing to regularly inspect and/or maintain vehicles
  • Trucking companies failing to properly load, or secure cargo truck driver is transporting

Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney for Help

If you have been injured in any type of truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Truck accident cases can be complex, and it is not uncommon for there to be multiple at-fault parties who are responsible for the payment of financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries.

The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has successfully represented many injured victims and their families and we are happy to meet with you and offer legal guidance on what the best options may be for your circumstances. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.