Faulty vehicle equipment is just one of the many causes of fatal and injury-related auto, truck and motorcycle wrecks here in Maryland. While failure of safety equipment and other critical vehicle control systems may only account for a small percentage of traffic fatalities, this is nonetheless a potential for tragic results on our highways and surface streets.
As Baltimore car accident attorneys and Washington, D.C., personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues read news stories and see television reports of multi-vehicle crashes that take the lives of numerous individuals every year. While it is not a stretch to say that most car, bike and commercial truck accidents are the result of driver error, inattention or downright negligent behavior, roadway collisions can and do happen as a result of defective equipment.
Now, every car crash or 18-wheeler wreck can have tragic results, the mayhem caused by a catastrophic failure of a vehicle control system or safety component can be nearly instantaneous and affect numerous persons in several different cars or truck in the immediate vicinity of the affected vehicle.
If a defective part or multiple components are to blame for causing a driver’s loss of control and precipitating a traffic accident, that is something that police investigators and insurance company claims personnel must determine. The question then comes, was the failed component a result of poor design or manufacturing processes, or did it stop working due to bad maintenance practices or a deliberate act, such as a trucker disconnecting the front brakes to allegedly improve fuel mileage.
Among the list of potentially deadly maintenance issues are excessively worn tires, poorly made tire retreads, improperly secured fifth wheel coupling, and even failure to maintain marker lights and reflective tape. A recent crash along a stretch of Interstate 95 in Cecil County took the lives of two people when a semi tractor-trailer rig went out of control and smashed into a sport utility vehicle.
Although no mention was made as to the root cause of the truck driver’s loss of control, faulty vehicle equipment should not be ruled out. However, that cause will have to be determined by the plaintiff’s lawyers working closely with accident reconstruction experts and trucking professionals. In this particular case, the accident occurred in the early morning hours on a Friday morning.
According to news reports, the out-of-state trucker, Vincent Pipken, was driving his rig northbound near the Tydings Bridge when he apparently lost control of the truck. The based on state police reports, the vehicle drove off the left side of the roadway, striking the center guardrail and then overturning into the southbound traffic lanes of I-95, at which point the vehicle collided with a Ford Explorer carrying two occupants.
Based on reports, the Ford’s driver, Adnil Hernandez, was pronounced dead at the scene, as was the trucker, who apparently was ejected from the cab of his semi. Emergency responders arriving at the crash site, found the passenger of the Explorer alive and suffering from what police described was non-life-threatening injuries.
That individual, Robert Hernandez, was taken by medevac chopper to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for further treatment and observation, though at the time of the news article it appeared he would fully recover.
The extent of the crash was such that it took five hours for state police and other emergency crews, including the Cecil County HAZMAT team, to investigate, clean up and reopen the southbound lanes of the interstate to traffic. Early morning news reports indicated that cars and trucks were backed up for miles as a result of the deadly crash.
Two die in I-95 crash Friday, BaltimoreSun.com, July 19, 2011