In the winter of 2011, a 46-year-old semi-truck driver (D1) hauling a flatbed trailer was traveling north in the right lane on a four lane interstate. Several minutes ahead of the semi was a pickup truck hauling an extension ladder that fell out onto the northbound travel lanes. A car behind the pickup swerved to avoid the falling ladder. Other cars swerved to avoid the ladder. The semi came upon the ladder and swerving cars. To avoid striking the cars and ladder, the semi driver swerved to the right, over-corrected to the left, drove across the northbound lanes, over a cable barrier, then into the southbound travel lanes. Another semi-truck driver (D2) traveling in the right southbound lane pulling a 53’ trailer struck the cab of the northbound semi. D2 died at the scene, and D1 was ejected and found alive under the right steer tire.

To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:

Recommendation No. 1: Loads in open pickup truck beds should be firmly secured before transport.

Recommendation No. 2: Ladders should be labeled by manufacturers to inform users on the importance of securing ladders during transport.

Recommendation No. 3: Retail outlets should locate signage in the ladder area to instruct customers on the importance of load securement.

Recommendation No. 4: Law enforcement should be alert for load securement issues in open bed trucks and issue citations for non-secure transport of ladders.

Recommendation No. 5: Brakes on commercial vehicles should be maintained in proper working order.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

11KY001_Summary.pdf (19 kB)
Case Summary