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Claude Wyle
Claude Wyle
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Semi Truck Collision with Amtrak Passenger Train on Way to San Francisco

2 comments

Sorry I have to report that a semi truck and an Amtrak train collided in Nevada last week en route from Chicago to San Francisco. The crash took six people’s lives and was said to have occurred when the semi truck did not stop, blazing through the crossing gates and into an Amtrak train full of passengers. Was this a suicide? Was negligent hiring by the trucking company a factor?

There appear to be questions about the safety track record of the trucking company involved. A passenger of the train, which was evacuated after the impact because the truck bursts into flames, said he saw skid marks at the point of impact indicating that the truck may have tried to stop. The trucking company involved, John Davis Trucking, however, has a history of unsafe driving citations which makes it easy to put them under scrutiny for this deadly crash.

Regardless of who was at fault, many people suffered serious personal injuries. How do we as a community figure out who was at fault to make the right people accountable? Why is fault important? Determining fault and making wrongdoers accountable is the way to effectuate change and is an important aspect of improving trucking and railroad safety. We all want to know that before boarding a train, whether local or across country, that we aren’t going to be crashed into because a truck fails to stop at the crossgates. Why did this tragedy occur? These questions will be explored by the governmental agencies assigned to investigate and also by the attorneys who will represent the parties involved.

These are questions that I care about, and I try to help my clients learn the answers so that injustice can be corrected and so that safety changes for the better can be made.

Please feel free to contact me if you or anyone you know has questions about this truck versus train crash.

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area motorists, pedestrians, passengers, and the family members of those killed in fatal roadway collisions. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco personal injury attorney, has fought for decades to protect the rights of the injured and the families of those lost through the negligence of others.

2 Comments

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  1. Christopher Howick says:
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    It is the easiest thing in the world to say ‘the company has a history of violations’, pretty much ANY trucking company you could look at has a history of violations and this is obviously something that is a public record,all you have to do is to go the the CSA site and find the information you need.

    Does this make them an unsafe company? Not especially…it all depends on what the violations were (my research shows the worst was a bald tire for which the truck was placed out of service by the DOT)and the severity. It is all to easy to start to push blame in the direction of either the late driver or the company involved.

    The fact is that we as truck drivers are vilified on a daily basis,looked down on and generally disliked for the simple reason:we are doing our jobs out here and by far the vast majority of us are trying to do so in a safe manner,which is more than I can say for a lot of car drivers. A very large part of the time we are treated merely as road blocks for car drivers desperate to get an extra 30 seconds down the road and will take unbelievable risks to do so. And this happens on a daily basis.

    Yes, when there is a tragedy like this it needs to be scrutinized for the minutest detail. But please lets not condemn any one person or organization before the dust has even settled. There is a long way to go in this before we can start pointing fingers.

    Even if the fingers are eventually pointed at the driver or the company this would be an isolated example and very much NOT indicative of the industry as a whole. There are unsafe companies and drivers out here that much is certainly true but they are in the minority. And you are always going to get violations,that in some ways is the point of inspections, to find the violations and have them corrected,and often these violations are something the driver may not have been able to see or he may have missed…after all none of us are perfect.

  2. Claude Wyle says:
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    Christopher,

    Thanks for your comment on this accident where a truck and Amtrak train collided in Nevada.

    I commend you for pointing out the facts, as well as your frustrations as a truck driver. Thanks for standing up for your rights.

    I would be happy to learn more facts and the truth here.

    I was able to find these:

    June 29: Amtrak train attendant sues trucking co.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/29/new-details-emerge-about-trucker-in-amtrak-crash/

    -Article talks about truck drivers bad record
    -Video mounted to front of train shows the truck before the collision and that the crossing gates and warning signals were fully operational.
    -Federal investigators say it might take up to 1 year to determine the cause of the crash.
    -Investigators found the truck drivers cell phone and will follow up to see what he was doing at the time of crash (if on cell phone)

    June 29: Amtrak Sues Trucking Co
    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jun/29/amtrak-sues-trucking-company-over-fatal-northern-n/

    -Against negligent driver

    July 7: Lawyer defends truck co.
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jul/07/lawyer-defends-nev-truck-firm-in-amtrak-crash/?ap

    -Defending all the different violations against the truck co.
    -Truck co hired outside vendor to hire the driver so didn’t have the right background check, so didn’t know about violations

    No public mention of Track Circuit Failure in any articles I found.

    Have a nice day.
    -Claude