One spring morning in 2010, three male tree trimmers set up a work site in a highway intersection at the base of a mountain. As one tree trimmer removed equipment from the truck, two other tree trimmers, 21- and 32-years old, posted signage in the intersection. The two tree trimmers were located on the shoulder of the highway. A semi tractor-trailer was driving down the mountain toward the intersection, when its brakes failed. To avoid hitting vehicles in front of the semi, the driver steered to the left, crossed the intersection, striking both tree trimmers with the semi tractor-trailer. Both tree trimmers died at the scene.

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

Recommendation No. 1: Roadside inspectors should prevent commercial drivers from continuing to operate a semi tractor-trailer when taken out-of-service due to inspection.

Recommendation No. 2: Commercial drivers should inform employers of roadside inspection results.

Recommendation No. 3: Commercial carriers should perform random verification checks of driver motor vehicle records.

Recommendation No. 4: A certified annual commercial vehicle inspection program should be established.

Recommendation No. 5: Employers should require proof that operators have performed daily safety checks on the semi tractor-trailer prior to operation. The following separate recommendation is being made:

Recommendation No. 6: The toll-free number to report illegal and/ or dangerous commercial driver activity to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration should be advertised in rest areas and truck stops.

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Notes/Citation Information

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

10KY009_Summary.pdf (11 kB)
Case Summary