Two people were killed and a firefighter was injured in a fiery three-vehicle collision caused by a big rig that was traveling illegally on the Kanan Dume Road in Malibu, which is usually closed to truck traffic. According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, the crash occurred at Pacific Coast Highway at Kanan Dume and both victims died at the scene.
Officials told the newspaper that this was not the only big rig driver who used that route illegally during last week’s wildfires that shut down Malibu Canyon Road. But this truck driver, it turned out, was speeding downhill at 70 mph, hauling his load of gravel and then ran through the red light at PCH and crashed into two cars.
The truck driver was struck by the gravel in his own big rig, causing his death. The driver of a Mercedes was killed on impact and a county firefighter, who was in another vehicle on his way to work, suffered a broken ankle. Fortunately, he was pulled out of his car by a passer-by before the vehicle burst into flames, the newspaper reported.
Officials say such accidents are fairly common at that dangerous intersection because it is at the bottom of an 8-mile-long, 8 percent grade. Over the last 10 years, that site has seen two other fatal truck collisions. This despite the fact that there is a runaway truck lane right there! Why did this big rig driver not use that lane? Officials say it’s possible that the truck driver panicked or could not read the signs, which were in English.
There is no question that accidents involving big rigs also involve far more serious injuries than any other. The reasons are obvious. This is a huge vehicle we’re talking about. It’s already heavy, but imagine how much more heavier it would get when it’s loaded with the stuff it’s transporting – in this case, gravel. When the big rig crashed, the flying gravel caused an additional major hazard on the roadway. It killed the driver and it could have easily killed or severely injured someone else who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Also, if officials knew that trucks were illegally taking this route because the other road was closed, they should’ve stepped up enforcement to make sure that big rig drivers were not breaking the law. Another eye-opener in this story is the statement from one of the officials that the truck driver maybe couldn’t read the signs. The question to be asked there is: Should a trucking company employ a driver who cannot read signs? Is that company putting their employee and other people on the roadway at a high risk by doing that? It probably happens very often in California.
Negligent big rig drivers and their employers – the trucking companies – must be held accountable when the fault is their’s. In this crash, officials seem certain that the driver not only went through a route illegally, but was speeding downhill and ran through a red light. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers are usually very quick to investigate accidents. And almost always, they are looking for ways to prove that their driver was not at fault.
The victims and families of the deceased would be well served to hire an experience personal injury lawyer specializing in truck accidents and serious injury accidents to help protect their rights and get them the compensation they deserve. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragic crash.
By: A Staff Writer