For the third month in a row, an Ohio truck accident has killed a truck driver and endangered the lives of other drivers. Yesterday, the tractor-trailer tanker truck simply veered to the left, struck a guardrail and flew off the I-675 overpass, crashing on Ohio 444 below. The tanker exploded in flames, killing the driver. There is no explanation why the truck driver lost control of the vehicle, but because there were no brake marks on the road, it is possible the driver simply fell asleep and drove the truck off the highway at an estimated 55 or 60 mph.
Several motorists witnessed the crash, and at least one driver had his window blown out by the explosion and debris, but fortunately no other drivers were injured in the accident. It took over five hours for police, firefighters, and hazmat crews to reopen the highway where the truck exploded, and it is likely that little evidence will be recovered from the truck, which was virtually obliterated by the explosion and fire.
Last month, a similar incident involved a truck driver who was reported to be driving erratically before he struck a bridge abutment, causing his double-trailer semi truck to explode, spilling its cargo of industrial batteries. In March, an early-morning truck accident in Miami County involved a driver who simply veered off a bridge, sending his truck flying into the embankment on the far side of the underpassing road.
In these cases, it is unlikely we will ever know whether it was truly truck driver fatigue that caused these drivers to lose control of their vehicles, but we might take them as a warning that perhaps the FMCSA should take a closer look at its Hours-of-Service regulations and enforcement to ensure that truck drivers are not being pushed beyond their limits for safe driving.