During the winter of 2008, a 39 –year-old tractor-trailer driver died after striking the right rear of a coal tractor-trailer with his vehicle, then veering into an embankment, rolling over and catching fire. The driver of a coal tractor-trailer (Truck 1) and the decedent driver of a second coal tractor-trailer (Truck 2) had descended a hill in the lane next to one another on a four-lane undivided highway. Truck 1 stopped at a traffic light at an intersection at the bottom of a hill while Truck 2 approached the intersection from behind in the left lane. The light turned green so that Truck 2 did not need to stop for the traffic light. Truck 1 advanced from the traffic light and began to climb another hill. Truck 2 approached Truck 1 on the hill, struck the right rear of Truck 1, veered to the left, struck an embankment, and rolled over. Upon impact, driver of Truck 2 was thrown into the sleeper compartment. Emergency medical services and the local coroner arrived on the scene. The coroner pronounced the driver dead at the scene.
To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendation(s) are being made:
Recommendation No. 1: Owner-Operators should follow Kentucky laws and wear seat belts while operating a commercial vehicle.
Recommendation No. 2: Companies should provide new and refresher truck driver safety training for company drivers including driver distraction , defensive driving techniques and Hours of Service as it pertains to fatigue.
Recommendation No. 3: Vehicle stabilizer and sensory systems should be mandatory equipment on all commercial vehicles.
Recommendation No. 4: To better prevent rear collisions, companies should establish a safety program to install flashing amber LED lights on the rear of all slow moving trucks.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Coal Truck Driver Fatally Injured in Collision with another Coal Tractor-Trailer" (2008). Fatality Case Reports--Motor Vehicle. 24.