Police in Ossian are investigating a semi-truck crash that took the life of a woman from Fort Wayne. The 29-year-old professional securities consultant was behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry in the early afternoon of January 6. Her car was stopped in traffic at an intersection on Indiana 1 in Wells County, behind a tractor trailer. From behind, her vehicle was slammed by a grain truck that failed to stop. The Camry was pinned between the two 18-wheelers, police said. And when the cab of the grain truck caught fire, flames spread to the car.
The woman who died was a standout member of the Fort Wayne community in northern Indiana. Her death marks yet another human tragedy caused by a semi-truck.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, one in 10 highway deaths occurs in a crash involving a semi truck or other large truck. Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants, including drivers. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles and the greater stopping distances needed for a truck to come to a halt. Those longer distances provide less room for error on the part of truck drivers. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance.
Truck braking capability can be a factor in wrongful death semi truck litigation. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk, according to federal transportation data. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch and up to 77 hours over a seven-day period. Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted.