A Vons big rig carrying 60,000 pounds of groceries rolled over on the Interstate 5 Freeway near Camp Pendleton just outside of Orange County and caught on fire, the Orange County Register reports. The big rig rollover accident occurred on the southbound side of the freeway near Las Pulgas Road when the large commercial truck hit a sport utility vehicle that had been involved in an earlier crash, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The SUV caught on fire as well, but its driver was reportedly not injured. The driver of the grocery chain’s big rig was reportedly airlifted to a hospital. The extent of his injuries is unknown.
Thankfully this California big rig accident did not cause any fatalities. This could have been a lot worse. Hopefully the driver of this eighteen wheeler recovers quickly and fully.
Although this crash did not reportedly cause catastrophic injuries or deaths, it is important to examine what went wrong. The SUV was already stopped on the freeway due to an earlier crash.
It seems to me that the driver of the big rig either did not see the stopped vehicle or could not stop the big rig in time to avoid the collision. The article also states that the vehicle was loaded with 60,000 pounds of groceries. I would be interested to see if the truck had been overloaded or if the groceries were unevenly distributed.
Overloading trucks is one of the most common causes of truck accidents that result in injuries or fatalities. Generally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates commercial trucking companies, limits the total weight for commercial vehicles to 20,000 pounds per axle up to a limit of 80,000 pounds total. It is usually the driver’s responsibility to make sure that that weight is not exceeded and that the weight is equally distributed throughout the vehicle.
A loaded big rig also requires 20 to 40 percent more stopping distance than a car. Overloading a big rig increases the risk of a serious accident or even tire blowouts.
The Vons’ truck driver owes it to himself to at least get a consultation with a personal injury attorney. The driver certainly has workers’ compensation benefits available to him, such as they are. But the benefits are embarrassingly low. If the driver suffered a significant injury, will be off work an extended period of time or suffers any type of disability, his rights in a third party claim are worth up to twenty times his workers’ compensation benefits. This accident may not be the truck drivers fault and he needs an experienced truck accident attorney to take a good look at the facts in order to protect the driver’s rights.