As reported by the Texarkana Gazette, the accident happened when a pickup truck and a semi truck approached a one-lane traffic construction zone on Interstate 30. The driver of the Ford pickup truck attempted to pass the tractor-trailer before it entered the one lane of construction traffic, but the tractor-trailer did not yield and the two vehicles collided.
According to Arkansas police spokesman Cpl. Les Munn, the driver of the pickup truck sustained significant injuries in the accident. Traffic was backed up for some time, although cars were still able to get through the single lane because the two trucks ended up in the median.
The crash remains under police investigation.
The Dangers of Tractor-Trailers In Work Zones
Construction zones can be dangerous for any motorist, but they're especially so when a large truck or tractor-trailer is involved. Truck drivers are under strict delivery schedules, and many face pressure from their trucking companies to make deliveries very quickly. A trucker who approaches a work zone may be motivated to drive aggressively in order to meet that schedule.
Moreover, construction zones are one place on the road where paying close attention to the surroundings is especially important. Depending on the nature of the construction, the roadway may twist and turn in unexpected ways - and those turns are especially hard for a large vehicle to navigate. Drivers need to watch out for construction workers, police officers directing traffic and signage in addition to keeping their eyes on other vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers work long hours and drive while exhausted, which can make paying attention in a construction zone very difficult. Some truckers choose to text and drive or engage in other distracting behaviors such as adjusting the radio, talking to a dispatcher or eating behind the wheel. Distracted driving is always dangerous, but it can turn deadly when trying to navigate the complexities of a construction zone, especially if traffic is already congested.
Legal Liability In Construction Zone Truck Accidents
Because of the number of parties involved in a truck accident that takes place in a construction zone, legal cases arising from such an accident can be extremely complex. Depending on the circumstances, fault may lie with the truck driver, another motorist, or even the company or state agency responsible for the construction zone itself.
Unfortunately, due to the level of congestion in many construction zones, it's not uncommon for crashes to involve multiple vehicles. In the Texarkana accident, for instance, a third vehicle - a Chevy Suburban - was struck at some point during the collision, although the damage appeared to be minor.
When we investigate a truck accident such as this one, our attorneys carefully review every aspect of the accident to determine which parties may be liable for the collision. For instance, if the truck driver was driving at an unsafe speed, that might be have been a reckless decision on the part of the driver himself - or it might mean that the trucking company applied pressure to meet an unreasonable delivery schedule. Inadequate signage or other issues with the construction site itself might also be partially to blame for the accident, in which case the organization responsible for the site would be liable.
The number of insurance companies involved in a construction zone truck accident can also complicate the case. In most cases, the cab and trailer of a tractor-trailer have separate insurance policies. Any motorists involved will also have their own insurers. Finally, another insurance company will represent the business or agency responsible for the construction site - and if any independent contractors are involved, they may have their own insurance as well. Accepting a settlement offer from any insurance company can affect another insurer's liability as well.
Both the trucking company and the construction company or state agency responsible for the work zone will be interested in reducing their own liability in the event of such an accident. They will dispatch teams of investigators immediately to collect evidence and build their case.
Because of all the complex legal issues surrounding a truck accident that takes place in a work zone, it's very important to retain an experienced attorney immediately after the accident. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start our own investigation and protect your legal rights.