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Investigators Find Truck Driver in Woodrow Wilson Bridge Crash Had Previous Fatal Wreck on Record

By: Allan M. Siegel

Last week, we published a blog discussing a fatal tractor-trailer crash on Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The wreck – which occurred on Wednesday June 20, 2018 – involved a commercial truck which collided into a boom truck and other construction vehicles on the bridge while heading northbound on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway. It also resulted in the death of the truck driver and a number of injuries, as well as hours of severe gridlock on roads and highways throughout the DC Metro area. Now, investigators tasked with looking into the crash and what may have caused it have found that the truck driver involved had previously been implicated in another fatal crash over 20 years ago.

As records show, the New Jersey truck driver who was fatally injured in last week’s collision had been involved in another fatal truck accident in 1992. Like last week’s tragic crash, that accident also occurred in a construction zone, though on the New Jersey Turnpike. Public records also indicate the driver has been arrested after the crash, and was later acquitted. The prosecutor in that case stated the driver had an epileptic seizure.

Although regulators are still determining what exactly caused the driver to lose control when he struck the boom truck that was in a clearly marked construction zone on the shoulder of the Outer Loop, the latest findings can provide some direction in their investigation. That’s especially true given the serious safety risks associated with commercial drivers who have medical conditions that may make them more likely to be involved in serious collisions.

As we have discussed in many of our blogs related to truck accidents, both commercial truck drivers and the commercial trucking operators that employ them must abide by numerous safety regulations. Many of these regulations focus on the health and fitness of truckers, as well as any medical conditions that may preclude them from being certified for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or would otherwise require careful and ongoing medical management so as to reduce risks to public safety.

In addition to ensuring the fitness of truck drivers, commercial trucking operators also have legal obligations to ensure drivers do not pose unreasonable risks behind the wheel. Previous accidents, and especially wrecks resulting in injuries or fatalities, are significant red flags that should be carefully evaluated whenever companies hire or choose to retain commercial drivers.

As the investigation into last week’s crash continues, our Washington, DC truck accident lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. know it will be vital to determine what the commercial trucking company involved in this wreck knew about the driver, his safety record, and any existing medical condition that might have played a role in causing him to lose control of the vehicle. Such findings will be critical to victims and families that look to establish fault and liability in any personal injury claims they may pursue.

Given the serious nature of this crash and the potential for challenging issues involving trucking regulations and liability, our legal team is available to provide our support and insight to victims and families who would like more information about their right to justice and compensation. If you wish to speak with a member of our team during a free and confidential consultation, contact us today.