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George Fusner
George Fusner
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Death At A Tractor Trailer Parked on Shoulder of I-24 Rutherford County

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On Friday night a women from Chicago was killed when the pick up truck in which she was riding struck a semi truck parked on the shoulder of I-24 near Murfreeesboro reported the Tennessean on Sunday. As I was drinking my Sunday morning coffee I first almost skipped over the short article. At first blush I thought well the driver of the pick up truck must be a fault for hitting a parked tractor trailer truck. Then I put my trucking wreck lawyer hat on an began to think.

I did not have enough facts to form any hard conclusions, however, I knew were to start. The following are some quick thoughts.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the operation of tractor trailers and buses on Interstate highways. Its motto is

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is focused on reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

There are numerous regulations all enacted to safe guard the public. Section 392.22 tells the driver what he is to do. Specifically it states:

§392.22 Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles.

(a) Hazard warning signal flashers. Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Placement of warning devices

(b)(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by §393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:

Thus, the first question to be answered "Did he turn his four way flashers on?" The law requires "IMMEDIATELY." Were they working? His prep trip inspection required him to check them. Did he even do a pre trip inspection? "How long had he been parked?" The law says if more than 10 minutes he had to place other warning devices and specifies the exact location.

Those inquires don’t stop the investigation. A trailer is to have reflectors ever so many feet. Were they on the truck? I could write for pages on the questions to ask. In the last case I handled concerning a wreck like this my questions for the driver took over six hours to ask.

Rest assured the insurance company for the truck inspected the truck and accident scene within 24 hours of this death. What was the family of the deceased doing? Grieving, trying to make funeral plans, making arrangements for the body to be brought home.

Now the best advice for anyone involved in a tractor trailer wreck is to hire an experienced tractor trailer wreck lawyer as soon as possible so that they have less time to catch up. A semi wreck is NOT just a big car wreck. The car or pickup always loses.