Rollaway truck accidents just make you want to shake your head in frustration because they are preventable yet they cause such destruction and injury. Failing those that are caused by a mechanical defect, truck rollaways are usually caused when the driver gets out of the truck and fails to pull the parking brake. If the truck is on an incline, it can begin to roll and it does not take much time for it to gain momentum. Once a rollaway truck gets moving, it will plow through whatever ends up in its path until it meets an obstacle strong enough to stop it.
Just look at these examples from around the country:
- In North Carolina, a runaway tractor-trailer rolled away and crashed into a car pushing the car through the wall of a restaurant. No one was in the car at the time of the crash, and no one in the restaurant was injured as the car plowed through the wall.
- In Stamford, CT, an unattended tractor-trailer rolled away from the service plaza on I-95 south, rolling through a guardrail and hitting a car before crashing into a jersey barrier. The driver of the truck was cited for leaving a motor vehicle on the highway without engaging the emergency brake.
- In Missouri, in a case caused by faulty brakes, a FedEx driver died trying to stop his rolling truck when he was making a delivery. The driver did pull the parking brake as the truck was parked on a sloped driveway, but the truck still rolled away. When the driver ran and tried to stop the truck, he was run over and pinned between the truck and a house.
Preventing rollaway truck crashes
A commercial truck safety blog, Part380.com, recommends the “cockpit exit routine” as a countermeasure to runaway trucks:
- Set the brakes or check that the brakes have been set. To set or check the air brakes, pull the yellow knob on the dash. This will also automatically deploy the trailer air brakes.
- Ensure the ignition key is in the “off” position. On average, a truck key is left in the “on/ accessory-position” at least once a year, resulting in a drained battery (and about a $225 average service call).
- Check that the turn signal or emergency lights are off.
- Check a second time that the air brakes have been set by pulling on the yellow knob again.
- Once outside, take a final glance back at the truck, making sure no lights have been left on. Set wheel chocks if the vehicle is parked on an incline.
To prevent rollaway truck accidents from occurring in vehicles that had been left idling in “Park,” and the transmission somehow slipped out of park and into neutral, the National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended a solution. The NHTSA recommended brake transmission shift interlocks (BTSI) on all light to heavy-duty vehicles to mechanically lock the transmission in Park. The BTSI requires the driver to apply pressure to the brake before shifting the transmission.
Being struck and suffering an injury in a rollaway truck crash can be a frightening experience. When you suffer an injury caused by the negligence actions of someone else, you have the right to pursue fair and honest compensation for your losses. The skilled Chicago truck accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law, P.C. are focused on helping you get the compensation to which you are entitled for your injury. For a free consultation, call 312.313.1621 or contact us today.