Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and New Mexico State police have reported that nine victims have been killed in a devastating crash between a tractor-trailer and a Greyhound bus that occurred late last month. Most of the 49 passengers aboard the bus also suffered injuries.
According to reports, the crash occurred Thursday, August 30 shortly after noon when a tractor-traveling traveling east on Interstate 40 in McKinley County crossed the center divider and crashed head-on with the Greyhound bus. Witnesses described a horrific collision which caused both vehicles to overturn, as well as dozens of frightened passengers climbing out of windows of the bus. Several of the victims were listed in serious or critical condition, and over 20 people were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The truck driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
A team of investigators from the NTSB noted that the Greyhound bus, which departed from St. Louis for Los Angeles, had just made a stop in Albuquerque prior to the crash. Their investigations have noted that the driver of the tractor-trailer lost control when one of the vehicle’s front tires experienced a blowout.
Fatal Truck / Bus Accidents
Authorities and safety officials devote extensive resources to investigating auto accidents involving commercial vehicles and multiple fatalities, not only due to their devastation, but also because there is the potential that systemic failures may have caused them. As we discuss in many of our blogs focusing on truck accidents and bus accidents, commercial truck and bus operators, as well as their drivers and employees, are required to abide by numerous safety regulations. Violations of regulatory rules can place passengers, motorists, and others nearby at serious risk of suffering injury or death in preventable collisions.
When conducting their investigation into what happened, safety officials will pay particular attention to possible signs of regulatory violations, corporate shortcuts, and even failures of product manufacturers (including the manufacturer of the tire which allegedly experienced a blowout prior to the crash) to determine if Thursday’s crash could and should have been prevented. Although there are numerous potential causes of these collisions and many violations that increase accident risks, officials will likely hone in on some of the most notorious factors, including:
- Defective products and auto parts (i.e. faulty tires)
- Failures to properly maintain vehicles and equipment
- Driver error, negligence, distraction, or impairment by drugs or alcohol
- Driver background, driving history, health certifications, and employment procedures
- Cargo securement violations or excessive vehicle weight
The unfortunate truth in accidents as severe as this is that numerous victims and families suffer, often in the most profound and life-altering ways. Investigations and their findings may do little to change this, but they can be critical to assessing what took place, whether accidents could have been prevented, and determining if the failures or negligence of an involved party – whether that’s a driver, trucking company, product manufacturer, or another – are to blame. This in turn would allow victims and families to pursue justice and compensation for their losses through civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, hold at-fault parties are accountable, and help prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Fighting for Accident Victims
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we are always deeply troubled by tragedies like these, many of which involve risks that we ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone on the road face on a daily basis. However, we know from experience that risks can be managed, and that negligence and violations should never be tolerated. As such, our attorneys closely track investigations into major collisions, just as we work closely with investigators and perform our own due diligence in accident cases we handle for our clients. The findings of these reports can further our understanding of what causes devastating collisions and how they can be avoided, and ultimately help victims and families secure the justice they deserve.
Our Washington, DC personal injury attorneys handle all types of accident cases for clients across DC, Virginia, and Maryland. We are always available to help those who would like more information about their rights after a preventable crash, the personal injury process, and how we can help. If you have a potential case you wish to discuss, contact us for a free consultation.