Big Lake, Texas – A head-on collision involving two semi-trucks resulted in the deaths of both drivers in West Texas. The incident occurred around 2:40 p.m. on SH 37, approximately 12 miles north of Big Lake in Reagan County.
Preliminary findings from the investigation indicate that a 2009 International Truck Tractor, towing a trailer, was traveling southbound on SH 37. The vehicle was operated by 27-year-old Ezekiel Sosa, a resident of Big Lake, Texas.
The truck veered into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with a 2019 Mack Truck Tractor, also towing a trailer. The Mack Truck Tractor was driven by 38-year-old Jonathan Charles Ray from Bay Springs, Mississippi.
The force of the collision caused both vehicles, along with their attached semi-trailers, to become engulfed in flames.
Both drivers were pronounced deceased at the scene by the justice of the peace.
Further Investigation Needed to Determine the Cause of the Driver Veering into On-Coming Traffic
Head-on collisions. These accidents are some of the deadliest and cause more fatalities on the road than any other type of accident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, head-on collisions accounted for 27 percent of all roadway departure fatalities between 2016 and 2018, claiming over 10,000 lives. Fatigue and distraction often play a role in these deadly crashes.
For the safety of all motorists on the road, state and federal regulations limit the hours a truck driver can drive without stopping. Federal laws dictate that truck drivers have a 14-hour driving window (the daily limit they are allowed to be on the road), an 11-hour driving limit (this is the total amount they can drive in the 14-hour driving window), and drivers must take a 30-minute rest break if driving more than 8 consecutive hours (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
Unfortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies do not always adhere to these rules. Many times, fatigued drivers are on the road, rushing to meet a delivery deadline without regard for their tired bodies’ warnings. They drive over the legal hours allowed and end up causing a deadly accident by veering off their road to oncoming traffic. When this happens, the truck driver must be held responsible, and the trucking company must answer for any role it may have played.
If the trucking company did not do its duty to keep track of the trucker’s login hours or encouraged its driver to break the rules to meet deadlines, it may also be responsible for any consequence its negligent actions may have caused. Trucking companies are responsible for their drivers, which means following regulations and ensuring their drivers are doing the same.
Another cause of head-on collisions is distracted driving. Distracted driving can mean anything from daydreaming to using or looking at a cell phone while driving. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers who use cell phones are 6 times more likely to cause an unintentional lane deviation. For this reason, drivers are restricted from using hand-held devices while on the road.
Truck drivers are required to follow these rules, and trucking companies must ensure their drivers are following safety protocols. Trucking companies can do this by providing their drivers with safety training, education, and expectations. These companies also have a duty to check their driver’s history to confirm they follow basic rules of safety.
Finally, there are times when a truck veers into oncoming traffic for reasons outside the control of the driver. In fact, according to the FMCSA, nearly 10% of truck accidents are caused by mechanical failure of some type. Unfortunately, when trucks burn following the collision, identifying a mechanical failure becomes more difficult. Nevertheless, potential mechanical issues must be ruled out before the responsible parties are determined.
The Ammons Law Firm represents clients nationwide in catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation, with extensive experience in complex auto/tire defect and commercial vehicle cases.
Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. Information contained in this blog was compiled from third-party sources or is the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if false or misleading information is contained in this post.