One summer morning in 2009, at approximately 11:30 AM, a 41 year-old male, long-haul, semi tractor-trailer driver drove off an interstate highway, over a guardrail, and continued into a wooded ravine. His trailer was empty and he was travelling to pick up a load of retail goods. The trailer disengaged from the tractor, the fuel tanks ruptured, the tractor overturned and caught fire. As the tractor overturned, the driver was ejected. A passing motorist called emergency medical (EMS) services; EMS arrived and found the driver dead at the scene.

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

Recommendation No. 1: Commercial vehicle carriers should establish and implement an appropriate comprehensive safety and driver training program.

Recommendation No. 2: Commercial vehicle carriers should implement and enforce a workplace policy that requires drivers to wear seat belts while operating a commercial vehicle.

Recommendation No. 3: Semi tractor-trailer drivers should be trained to recognize signs of fatigue and when to seek appropriate rest areas.

Recommendation No. 4: Electronic stability systems should be mandatory equipment on all commercial vehicles.

Recommendation No. 5: A comprehensive motor vehicle safety assessment of Kentucky’s interstate system needs to be performed in the area where the collision took place.

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Notes/Citation Information

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

09KY071_Summary.pdf (82 kB)
Case Summary