On the morning of a fall day in 2008, a 59 year-old male solid waste worker (Driver 1) entered the cab of a company solid waste truck parked in his driveway and drove to a restaurant a few miles away. After leaving the restaurant, the driver was observed weaving by another solid waste driver (Driver 2) at least two times in the northbound lane of a two-lane state highway. After he had driven 1.8 miles in a little over 2 minutes away from the restaurant, the driver entered a right-hand curve in the highway. While in the curve, the driver crossed the centerline and drove into the southbound lane, then crossed the northbound lane and off the right side of the highway. The driver hit a culvert, rolled the vehicle, and the driver was ejected from the driver’s door. The truck came to rest on its right side in the front yard of a private residence.

Driver 2 called emergency services to the scene, parked his solid waste truck off the highway and exited the cab. He ran to where Driver 1 was lying on the ground; found Driver 1 conscious and instructed Driver 1 not to move. Emergency services arrived, transported Driver 1 via ambulance and helicopter to the nearest Level 1 trauma hospital. While enroute, Driver 1 died. According to Driver 2, Driver 1 did not attempt to brake while the incident was occurring. Skid marks on the highway in the curve were from a previous incident involving a semi tractor-trailer.

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

Recommendation No. 1: Commercial vehicle carriers should implement and enforce a workplace policy that requires drivers to wear seat belts while operating a commercial vehicle.

Recommendation No. 2: Companies with remote drivers should implement a supervisory system to oversee drivers on a daily basis.

Recommendation No. 3: Companies with commercial drivers should perform random verification of driver motor vehicle records.

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Notes/Citation Information

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

08KY074_Summary.pdf (50 kB)
Case Summary