Early this morning, Mark Reeves of Portage, Indiana, was driving his pickup truck on westbound I-80/94 in Lake Station, near Central Avenue, when he failed to stop in time and crashed into the big rig in front of him. Tragically, Mr. Reeves died in the accident.
That semi truck on the roadway in front of Mr. Reeves might as well have been a wall: it was carrying a load of almost 47,000 pounds of steel. That pickup truck, a 1999 Chevy S-10, didn’t have a chance against that big rig steel-load: we can all understand the differential here.
No High Speeds, No Drunk Driving
This wasn’t a case of someone driving in a high speed car chase. No one’s thinking that Mark Reeves was driving drunk at 6:05 a.m. today. The Chevy truck was apparently moving into a construction zone, going through an S-shaped curve, when it rear-ended the Freightliner flat bed semi-truck in the right lane.
Witnesses saw the rear-end collision, saw the pickup lose control, and then go into the air and roll. Unfortunately, Mr. Reeves wasn’t wearing his seat belt. He was declared dead at the scene.
The IIHS Study Needs to Be Implemented ASAP
There’s another tragedy here. As we reported last month, there is an easy fix to these types of accidents, where a passenger vehicle rear-ends a big, heavy big rig.
Underride guards on the backs of these big monster trucks would offer protection in rear-end collisions according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
In these accidents, the car slams into the tractor trailer truck, or semi, and without proper protection (the guard) the top of the car (passenger vehicle) gets slammed up against the truck’s rear. The guard is designed specifically to thwart rear-end fatalities with lighter-weight cars and trucks.
Whether or not an underride guard would have made a difference this morning is something that we will never know. We do know, however, that instituting this safety protection should be a priority for all trucking companies. We also predict that underride guards will never be commonplace on semis in this country without government regulation forcing the issue. Result: more tragedies like the one Indiana experienced today, until the legislation is a done deal.