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Truck accidents caused by debris and loose cargo: Why there’s often more to the story

March 1, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten on WNEM Saginaw TV 5 on truck accidents caused by tires, loose cargo

I recently was interviewed by WNEM TV News. I was asked as a 20 year truck accident attorney why there are so many injuries and fatalities caused by objects and debris, including tire fragments, falling off of big commercial trucks. The reporter, Cheri Hardmon, took closer look at why this is happening and the scary possibility of truck accidents due to cargo falling of trucks, or tires blowing and leaving dangerous debris in the roads.

I told Cheri that there’s a lot more to the story than cargo “accidentally” falling off trucks and tires blowing by chance. This is the tip of the iceberg in a larger national trucking safety crisis.

Cheri also interviewed one of my clients, Cynthia Nunez, as part of the story. Cynthia’s brother was tragically killed in a truck accident — a death that could have been completely prevented. A fully loaded, 18-wheeler semi truck slammed into his car, pinning him against the median. The truck had faulty brakes, axle problems and a tire blowout caused by a steer tire that was too worn but never replaced or identified beforehand in a pre-trip inspection. Additionally, the truck driver was on powerful epilepsy medication that causes drowsiness, and should not have been on the roads in the first place, because he suffered from seizures and epilepsy.

Here’s a video of the news story.

As I told Cheri, at least 4,000 people die on U.S. roads each year in truck accidents, according to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). And one out of every five trucks on the road is considered “out of service,” meaning that the trucks are so dangerous and mechanically unsafe that if  pulled over by law enforcement, the truck would be required by law to be towed away to be repaired. These trucks would be considered too dangerous to be driven away to a service repair shop. One in five.

These dangerous trucks on our roads are like ticking time bombs. But many trucking companies would rather cut corners on safety to increase their bottom lines, instead of prevent truck accidents by following mandatory safety laws on maintenance and driver standards. Keeping trucks well-maintained and hiring good truck drivers costs money.

I’d like to thank Cheri for tackling a topic that has the potential to save lives and trying to help protect all of us as drivers on the roads in the process.

Like I said in the story, when a trucking company is negligent, it is a completely innocent person – a person like Patrick Nunez – who pays the price.

Related information:

What to do at the truck accident scene


Identifying and acting on truck driver risk factors – before the crash

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