On Thursday evening, October 27, 2011, seven people were killed and four more were injured when a semi rear-ended a minivan. The accident occurred on the Indiana Toll Road near Bristol, Indiana. Based on witness reports, the minivan hit a deer and slowed down or stopped on the road. The semi came from behind and rear-ended the minivan. Investigators think the truck was going about 65 mph when it hit. The seven fatalities were all passengers in the minivan. The truck driver was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The other three survivors remain hospitalized in critical or stable condition. Two of the victims were children, one of whom was an infant. It appears that all of the passengers in the minivan were related.
Many factors could have contributed to the high fatality rate of this accident. The most obvious is that none of the minivan passengers were wearing seatbelts. This may have been a result of having more passengers in the vehicle than it was designed to carry. There should never be more people in a car than there are seatbelts. Unfortunately, even the infant was not properly restrained in his or her car seat. Another cause was the minivan slowing or stopping on the road instead of moving to the berm. While relocating the vehicle may not have been possible in this situation if it was severely damaged from hitting a deer, it is important to remove the vehicle from the roadway if it is drivable to avoid additional collisions.
According to the Associated Press, the truck driver did not appear to be intoxicated. Throughout the investigation, several other issues will most likely be addressed. An impairment that is common in long-distance truck drivers is lack of sleep. Operating a vehicle without enough sleep can be just as dangerous as driving after drinking. Whether the truck driver was distracted or not also could have played a part in the accident. In Kentucky in 2010, 11 people were killed when a semi driver crossed the median and ran into a van. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded the semi driver was using his cell phone at the time of the accident. Currently, it is illegal in Kentucky to be texting while driving, and banning the use of cell phones by commercial drivers is being considered as a result of this los angeles accident lawyer.