In the spring of 2008, a 40-year-old tractor-trailer driver died after his vehicle left the interstate highway, crashed, and was engulfed in flames. The tractor drifted over the fog line and rumble strip onto the right shoulder, began to skid and left the highway. The tractor slid through the grass beside the roadway, struck a concrete culvert, sideswiped a small tree and then hit a large tree head-on. The tractor and trailers then skidded back down the embankment toward the highway where the entire unit came to rest. The tractor and lead trailer overturned onto the driver’s side. The second (rear) trailer uncoupled from the first trailer but remained upright and attached by safety chains. Emergency medical services were contacted. Upon arrival, EMS found the entire unit engulfed in flames. The coroner was contacted, and upon his arrival, declared the driver dead at the scene.
To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation No. 1: Commercial tractor-trailer drivers should be trained to recognize signs of fatigue and when to seek appropriate rest areas.
Recommendation No. 2: Companies should provide new and refresher commercial driver safety training for company drivers addressing driver distraction and including defensive driving techniques.
Recommendation No. 3: Vehicle stabilizer and sensory systems should be mandatory equipment on all commercial vehicles.
Recommendation No. 4: Log books and other important driver records should be stored in a fireproof container in the cab.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Driver of a Semi-Tractor Pulling Twin Trailers Fatally Injured in Single Vehicle Crash" (2009). Fatality Case Reports--Motor Vehicle. 18.