While most vehicles are only equipped with turn signals to warn other drivers of movement, there are various kinds of trucks used for different work environments that have many moving parts. It is common for all of these vehicles to emit loud beeping noises when backing up, there are generally no other kinds of visual or audio warnings when other dangerous pieces of heavy machinery are in motion. This lack of warnings or safety features is a cause of accidents at times.
There has been some controversy over a truck that destroyed a pedestrian bridge in Cleveland, causing severe property damage and delays.
Dump truck bed destroys a bridge in Cleveland
During a Tuesday morning rush hour, a dump truck hit and destroyed a pedestrian bridge at the intersection of East 49th Street and Chard Ave. This caused multiple lanes on I-77 Northbound to be closed for hours and experience significant traffic delays. Apparently, the bed of the large dump truck was in the upright position while the driver was moving along the interstate, and he was not aware of this fact until the collision with the bridge occurred.
The news organization who reported the story initially was also concerned that there are no safety features on most trucks related to these large beds. They noted that most large vehicles making warning sounds when they are backing up to alert people near the truck, but no such alert system exists for the driver to make them aware of the presence of other large moving parts, despite the dangers associated with them. Some trucking companies that were interviewed stated that they can voluntarily install a warning light system to alert the driver in the cab when the bed is up or moving, but there are no blanket regulations regarding this matter and many companies choose not to install the warning lights because they are not required.
Can trucks be sued for not having these kinds of safety features?
When trucks are not operated in a safe manner on the roads, a lawyer can make an argument that this breach in the duty of care caused various kinds of harm. However, in this situation regarding advanced safety features, it seems that warning lights or other safety measures would need to be implemented as part of a regulatory scheme first before not using them would be considered negligence. In theory, it does seem that some kind of more comprehensive features should be required, but it is up to the legislature in the state or politicians who handle federal transportation regulations to act on this point if they want to make warning lights or other features a requirement.
If someone wants to bring a lawsuit against this trucking company, they will likely have to make a more general argument about how the vehicle was operated in an unsafe manner and the driver should be responsible for knowing the position of the bed of the truck at all times. It can still be considered negligence to drive a truck while not being aware of the position of its parts, but the fact that specific warnings are not in place will not be relevant to this theory. It remains to be seen whether the municipality responsible for the destroyed bridge or others who were affected will bring a lawsuit against the driver and his employer.
Truck accident lawyers can help in Cleveland
If you have experienced injuries or property damage from some kind of truck accident in the Cleveland area, you should speak with an attorney. Bilfield and Associates, LLC are experts at representing Ohio residents after all kinds of accidents.