LEHIGH COUNTY, New Jersey—Two men from New Jersey were injured, with one being seriously injured, in a crash after a semi-truck traveling in the right-hand lane struck a motorcycle stopped on the shoulder of the roadway. The accident occurred at 1:30 p.m. at mile marker 49.9 in Upper Macungie Township, near the Route 100 interchange on I-78.
Initial police reports suggest that the seriously injured man, 77, was sitting on his 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle on the shoulder of the interstate, and the second victim, 73, was standing nearby. A semi-truck, driven by a 51-year-old New Jersey man, hit the motorcycle on the shoulder and pushed the bike and rider into the man standing on the shoulder.
The crash shut down I-78 for approximately two hours. The motorcyclist sustained serious injuries and was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. The second man had minor injuries but refused medical treatment. The truck driver was not injured.
The accident remains under investigation by authorities. No further information about the crash has been released at this time.
Independent investigation is needed to ensure the victims of this crash receive all the financial assistance they need to recover from their injuries
Although the exact cause of the crash has yet to be determined, it appears as though the semi-truck driver was negligent in exercising his duty of care for other motorists at the time of the accident. Whether the semi-truck driver was distracted, too reliant on lane assistance technology, or simply unaware of how wide his trailer was, the motorcyclists may be successful in recovering from the semi-truck driver or a trucking company for their injuries.
Distracted driving is simply unacceptable. This crash occurred in broad daylight, and if the semi-truck driver was too distracted to avoid the motorcyclists on the side of the road, then the truck driver should be held responsible for the serious injuries he caused. On the other hand, if the truck driver was unaware of how wide his trailer protruded, then any commercial trucking company employing the driver could also be held accountable for not having trained its drivers properly. In fact, trucking companies are often liable for the mistakes of their drivers, especially when the company itself has not provided its drivers with the necessary resources and education needed to promote safety on the road.
Alternatively, the semi-truck driver may have been relying on lane assistance technology at the time of the crash. Recently, more semi-trucks have been equipped with lane assistance for drivers, but lane assistance technology can fail, leading semi-trucks to depart their lane and run off the roadway or into oncoming traffic. Again, it is always the responsibility of the truck driver to maintain a safe course on the road, even when lane assistance technology is activated. Additionally, it is the responsibility of commercial trucking companies to train their drivers on the dangers of becoming too reliant on convenience technology while driving.
Regardless of what the official investigation finds, we always advocate for an independent legal investigation, particularly in cases like this. Resource constraints often mean that official investigations stop at the first identified cause. Unfortunately, we find many accidents have more than one cause, and we do not stop our investigation until all causes have been identified.