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Fatal Accident on I-84 Raises Truck Safety Questions

Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jun 10, 2019 in Truck Accidents

commercial trucks parkedarly in the morning of June 3, central Connecticut was rocked by tragedy, when two people died in a four-vehicle truck accident on I-84 in East Hartford.

According to WTNH, the crash involved two tractor-trailers, a box truck, and a school bus (which was thankfully not carrying children at the time). The fiery crash sent smoke into the air that was visible for miles, and it was severe enough to completely close all westbound lanes between exits 54 and 51 for much of Monday.

The cause of this particular accident is still under investigation. However, this tragedy underscores the critical importance of truck safety.

Safety hazards involved in highway truck accidents

A great deal of truck traffic moves across northern and western Connecticut on I-84 every day. I-84 is also the major east-west highway used by commuters and other motorists traveling to and through Hartford, Waterbury, Danbury, and numerous other communities, which means those tractor-trailers are sharing the road with thousands of smaller vehicles.

That’s why truck safety is so critical. While we can’t speculate about the causes of this particular crash, some of the most common safety hazards playing a role in I-84 truck accidents in general include: 

  • Dangerous or Flammable Cargo: Shifting, loosely packed or unevenly packed cargo can unbalance trucks, causing rollovers, and the cargo itself can also contribute to damage or injuries when it catches fire or spills onto the road surface. The East Hartford accident illustrated this possibility when reams of paper being carried by one of the trucks caught fire.
  • Speeding: Many trucks on highways such as I-84 are on tight delivery schedules, and they’re trying to make up time on the road in Connecticut before they reach the New York City area. When trucks travel at high speeds, the risk of a rollover, jackknife or other serious accident increases, especially if the driver has to slam on the brakes to react to rapidly changing highway traffic conditions.
  • Distracted Driving: Texting while driving trends upward in the summer months, a safety risk for trucks and passenger cars alike. Some truckers also engage in other distracting behaviors such as talking to dispatchers or looking at their GPS instead of the road. A truck takes a long time to turn or stop; even a momentary distraction can quickly turn deadly.
  • Fatigue and Falling Asleep at the Wheel: The East Hartford accident occurred early (police arrived at the scene at 5:08 a.m.). Whenever trucks are on the road early or late in the day, the risk of falling asleep at the wheel is elevated. Truckers work long hours, and while there are legally mandated rest breaks, those rules are sometimes ignored. 

Protecting your legal rights after a tractor-trailer crash

Aside from seeking medical attention, the most important step you can take after being hurt in a truck accident in Connecticut is to immediately contact an attorney with extensive experience handling large, complex injury cases and taking them to trial. The trucking company and their insurance company will have their most experienced attorneys and adjusters protecting their interests, and you’ll need a proven fighter on your side who’s ready to see your case through. 

That’s why we strongly encourage you to contact D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC. We’ll protect your legal rights and deal with the insurance company on your behalf while you focus on getting better.

Call (860) 945-6600 to speak with an attorney at our firm.