There was a very serious motor vehicle accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland in July 2013. Thankfully, this vehicular collision did not result in any fatalities or catastrophic injuries. It was a miracle that this bridge vehicle wreck was not fatal.
This motor vehicle accident post was authored by RI Personal injury Lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.
A Chrysler car went through a tollbooth on the bridge and traffic slowed so that the Chrysler was going 4 miles an hour in the right hand lane. A Tractor Trailer truck travelling at a speed of 47 mph at the moment of the crash, slammed into the Chrysler in a rear-end collision.
The force of the collision between the truck and the Chrysler caused the Chrysler to hit a Mazda CX-5. The Chrysler then plummeted off the bridge, 27 feet into 7 feet of water. Miraculously the Chrysler driver was able to swim from her motor vehicle to be rescued and brought via ambulance to the hospital for medical treatment.
After a full and thorough investigation by the National transportation Safety Board, the NTSB determined that the crash was caused by “the failure of the truck-tractor driver to slow for traffic due to his inattention to the forward roadway while looking in his side view mirror. Contributing to the crash were the truck driver’s unfamiliarity with the area and lack of knowledge that traffic routinely slows on the eastbound span of the bridge after exiting the toll plaza and before entering the leftward curve.” https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/HAB1401.pdf
It is unclear whether any of the victims retained personal injury attorneys or car accident lawyers.
According to the NTSB, the trucker had at least 4 years of experience driving “commercial vehicles” in Hungary. He also spent a couple of weeks in Canada with an American trained semi-truck (18 wheeler) driver.” The accident trip, which began in Dedham, Massachusetts, was the truck driver’s first time driving in the United States on his own.”
Absence of mechanical issues on Tractor Trailer
“National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators also inspected the brakes on the truck-tractor and semitrailer and noted no defects. The trucker was going “47 mph at the time of the crash.”https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/HAB1401.pdf
Was there a history of collisions caused by driver error and negligence on the Bridge?
The NTSB determined that in a 10 year span previous to the crash there had been 624 motor vehicle collisions of different severity. There were three fatal accidents on the bridge and 5 people were killed in those 3 deadly mishaps. 70 percent of the motor vehicle collisions on the bridge during that 10 year period constituted rear-end crashes. Surprisingly, there are only 2 known occurrences of a vehicle falling into the Chesepaeke bay. Id.
In the exact words of the NTSB report:
“On Friday, July 19, 2013, about 8:24 p.m., a 2007 Chrysler Sebring passenger car operated by a 24-year-old female driver was traveling eastbound on US Route 50/301 near Annapolis, Maryland. The Chrysler had passed through the toll plaza to enter onto the east bound span of the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge (Chesapeake Bay Bridge). Less than a mile past the toll plaza, after vehicles had merged from 11 toll lanes into two travel lanes, traffic began to slow as the bridge ascended above the Chesapeake Bay and curved to the left. The Chrysler was in the right lane and had reduced speed to 4 mph due to the traffic queue ahead when it was struck from behind by a 2010 International truck-tractor and refrigerated semitrailer combination unit traveling 47 mph.1 The truck-tractor, operated by a 29-year-old male driver, collided with the left rear corner of the Chrysler, pushing it into the concrete barrier adjacent to the right lane. As the truck-tractor and the Chrysler continued forward, the front of the Chrysler collided with a 2014 Mazda CX-5 occupied by a 65-year-old male driver and his wife. During the collision sequence, the Chrysler was pushed up onto the barrier wall and then rode along the top of it, before falling approximately 27 feet into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chrysler came to rest between two bridge piers to the south of the eastbound span, in approximately 7 feet of water. The Mazda rotated counter-clockwise and came to rest near the left front corner of the truck-tractor in the middle of the two travel lanes.”
Did truck driver fatigue or sleepy (tired) driving appear to be an issue in this crash?
The Federal Motor Carrier safety Administration reported in a different report that, “Driver fatigue may be due to a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or a combination of other factors.” http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/outreach/education/driverTips/Driver-fatigue.htm
If you were injured in an accident in RI or MA then contact Rhode Island and Massachusetts Personal Injury lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.
“There is quite a bit of political support for authorities to construct median barriers on the Newport Bridge in Newport Rhode Island. This increased pressure comes after three fatal accidents in approximately 48 months on the bridge.
Channel 10 reported “There is little room for error driving over the Newport Pell Bridge. One small mishap becomes a serious if not deadly accident.” http://www.turnto10.com/story/24298894/accident-stops-traffic-on-newport-pell-bridge” http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2014/01/fatal-bridge-accident/
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.