Last week, a happy bunch of college kids who played on their school’s softball team were having lots of fun as they were traveling back home to North Central Texas College from a scrimmage with Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. It was around nine o’clock on a Friday night, after dark but not that late. They were about an hour’s drive south of Oklahoma City, and halfway home.
Suddenly, a semi-tractor-trailer jumped the median of the interstate, slammed into the softball team’s bus, and just kept going. The big rig ended up on the side of the road. It took the police almost an hour to find the semi-tractor-trailer truck.
Sadly, the truck – bus crash left 4 students dead there at the scene of the accident. Another student died while being treated at the hospital. Fifteen other bus passengers were also injured in the crash, with the truck driver being hurt but expected to be okay.
The accident is being investigated by law enforcement as a potential homicide case.
We’ve written before about how police will sometimes file homicide or murder or manslaughter charges against a truck driver when there is a fatal truck accident. It’s been done before, and more truck driver arrests will happen in the future.
Justice In a Fatal Truck Accident
However, in cases like this, the justice for these crash victims and their families must include lawsuits filed and claims made by these victims and their loved ones against those responsible for this tragedy. Fatal trucking accidents like these will include potential claims against several possible defendants, including:
- The trucking company who is responsible for their employee
- The truck driver for his failure to drive responsibly and safely
- The truck manufacturer or parts maker if there turns out to be a parts problem or design flaw (did the brakes jam? Did the steering freeze? etc.)
Truck Driver is “Deadliest Job in America”
Today, the British news is reporting that being a truck driver in the United States today is the “deadliest job in America.” The report comes with statistics like:
- Nearly 4,000 Americans die in large truck crashes each year, and driver fatigue is a leading factor
- In 2013, more than 700 commercial drivers died on the job
- Nearly 50 per cent of truckers interviewed as part of a federal study said they had dozed off behind the wheel
- A recently proposed change to federal regulations would let drivers put in as many as 82 hours a week on the road
In the Oklahoma softball team bus crash, the driver of the school bus was not injured and the semi truck driver was hurt but will survive the crash. Five young people died. It’s time that more news coverage was given to the seriousness of trucking accidents in this country.