A recent Wisconsin Dells truck accident highlights the importance of truck drivers in following the federal rules when pulling over for non-emergency stops on the side of the roadway, as well as the importance of pre-trip inspections.
The unfortunate truck accident occurred on February 9, 2010, on I-94/I-90 eastbound near exit 85 outside of Wisconsin Dells, in Juneau County. A semi-truck driver, Michael K. Johnson, 48, of Chicago, Illinois, had stopped his tractor-trailer in order to clean ice from the truck. At that time, a vehicle operated by a Chippewa Falls man and his family was traveling in the same direction and struck the rear of the semi-truck. According to reports, the semi-truck was parked in an actual lane of travel on the highway and also did not have the necessary warning signals. The Chippewa Falls residents in the car all received severe injuries and face a long road ahead of them in their recovery.
This tragic accident could have easily been avoided, had the truck driver simply been adequately trained on the federal rules and complied with them.
The first, most obvious violation by the semi-truck driver, appears to be the failure to properly inspect and remove ice from his tractor-trailer PRIOR to beginning his trip. I have blogged about the dangers truck drivers pose in not properly clearing ice and snow from their trucks several times in the past. The duty to inspect is clearly set out in the federal regulations as follows:
CFR §392.7 Equipment, inspection and use.
No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed:
Windshield wiper or wipers.
Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
If, on the other hand, ice had begun to build up after the truck driver’s departure, then the truck driver could have easily utilized one of several truck stops along this stretch of I-94/I-90, in order to safely stop to remove the ice.
The second, most obvious violation by the semi-truck driver, appears to be the failure to safely pull completely out of the lanes of travel. This is a violation of Wisconsin’s Rules of the Road.
The third, most obvious violation by the semi-truck driver, appears to be the failure to adequately utilize necessary emergency signals, which would have given the operator of the automobile ample time to identify the semi-truck and react. The federal rule, CFR §392.22, mandates the use of vehicular hazard warning signal flashers, fusees and liquid-burning flares.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, call an experienced Wisconsin Truck Accident Attorney.