Not only are bridge strikes a concern for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), but also for truckers and trucking companies as these types of accidents tend to have an effect on multiple parties.
There are certain roads and highways truck drivers are not permitted to ride on as there are potential hazards that could interfere with their trip. One of these hazards is low-hanging bridges. When a truck driver travels on a roadway that wasn’t built for these types of vehicles to operate on, they may come across a low-hanging bridge in which their vehicle cannot fit under. In most cases, when a truck encounters a bridge that has a much lower clearance than what their vehicle can fit through, it can lead to individuals sustaining injuries, damage to the infrastructure, the interruption of commerce, and delays in travel time, says the FMCSA.
Therefore, not only do these types of truck accidents affect the FMCSA seeing that the truck caused damage to a city infrastructure, but they also affect the driver and the company in which they work for.
To give you an idea of what happens when a trucker attempts to pass under a low-lying bridge, below we share a few past incidents that have transpired.
- A moving truck in Louisville tried to pass beneath an overpass that had a low clearance and while it almost made it through, the back part of the trailer hit the bridge and peeled part of the roof away. CDL Life shared video footage of the accident as it played out and in the video you can see sparks flying off the truck and part of the vehicle’s roof dangling behind it.
- In Spokane, WA, a waste management truck driver misjudged the height of his vehicle and as he attempted to drive around construction going on, his vehicle became lodged between the road and the overpass that sat above him. The truck was severely damaged and caused a significant amount of traffic to build up while police and other agencies worked to remove the truck. You can see photos of the aftermath of the accident by visiting KULR8.com.
- In Kentucky, a semi-truck with an oversized load crashed into an overpass on I-40 and became stuck underneath it. Although the driver was lucky enough to walk away without a scratch, the 70,000-pound vehicle caused significant damage to one of the bridge’s five beams, according to the Tennessean. The Tennessee Department of Transportation estimated the timeframe to repair the bridge to be about several months.
What is the FMCSA doing to resolve the issue of bridge strikes?
The FMCSA has shared a few ways they are working to combat bridge strikes as well as some recommendations for how truckers can avoid engaging in these types of accidents as well. For starters, the FMCSA has stated that it is working with “State and local partners to ensure they understand their enforcement authority against motor carriers and drivers that fail to abide by roadway signs.” They also offer the following recommendations for those who are required to operate a large truck.
- Drivers need to become more aware of the route restrictions that exist.
- Truckers should pay closer attention to road signs including those that stipulate how high a bridge or overpass sits.
- Drivers should use GPS systems that are only intended to be used by truck and bus operators.
While it is clear that bridge strikes are avoidable, not all drivers take the necessary precautions to prevent from engaging in an accident with a low-lying bridge. And if you are someone who was recently involved in a truck wreck in Cedar Rapids, IA where your vehicle became lodged under an overpass or you were involved in another type of truck accident, you are encouraged to consult with an IA truck crash lawyer. The attorneys at Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C. are more than qualified to explain what your next steps should be and can even assess the details in the matter to determine if you qualify for compensation as a result of the wreck.
To get an initial consultation scheduled so that you can speak with a legal professional, contact this firm now by calling 319-393-1020.
You can reach Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C. at:
1921 51stStreet NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Phone: (319) 393-1020
Fax: (319) 393-4000