Yesterday morning, a commercial truck broke down on the segment of I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, where the highway was slick from rain and shrouded in heavy fog. While a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was stopped at the side of the interstate highway to check on the truck, a second vehicle crashed into the back of the disabled truck, causing a multiple-vehicle pileup and several other crashes from drivers attempting to avoid the initial crash.
This avoidable traffic catastrophe ultimately involved 27 vehicles, including 23 different commercial trucks, with numerous victims who were rushed to the Ivinson Memorial Hospital. Highway tragedies like this are far too common, especially when drivers fail to operate safely in heavy fog.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations specifically address this known danger in the 49 Code of Federal Regulations, § 392.14:
Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.
The federal statutory standard of "extreme caution" is very high, but – unfortunately – too many truck drivers do not even follow the minimum safety requirements for driving in fog as set out in the Commercial Driver License Manual, which all truck drivers must study and master to safely operate on our highways.
Commercial Driver License Manual § 2.12 reads:
Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can be extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected, and visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should watch for foggy conditions and be ready to reduce your speed. Do not assume that the fog will thin out after you enter it.
At The Ammons Law Firm, we have been holding negligent drivers and reckless trucking companies responsible for the injuries sustained by members of our community for more than 20 years. We offer our sympathies and best wishes for a full recovery to the many victims of yesterday's Wyoming truck crash catastrophe. As experienced personal injury attorneys who have worked on hundreds of highway tragedies, we understand the high cost our communities pay as a result of preventable crashes. If you or your family have experienced a similar loss or serious injury, we are here to help you get back on your feet and to help you find justice.
For more information on the common causes of truck crashes, read our “Ultimate Book on Advanced Trucking Litigation.” To speak with an attorney, contact The Ammons Law Firm at (281) 801-5617.
Disclaimer: On our blog, we report on recent catastrophic accidents to begin important conversations about consumer safety. Our hearts go out to all the victims mentioned in this article, and we sincerely hope that future injuries and deaths can be prevented. If these resources are found to include any false or outdated information, we invite you to contact The Ammons Law Firm as soon as possible so we may update them. This content should not be construed as legal counsel or advice.