California Big Rig Pile-Up Proves Tragic

The California Highway Patrol says that a trucker in San Bernardino County didn’t recognize that the trafffic ahead of her had stopped, and the distracted driver proved fatal to occupants of the vehicle ahead of her. The Press-Enterprise outlines the results:

The tractor rear-ended a 1996 Ford F-150 pickup truck that overturned and burst into flames, killing its driver and passenger. Neither victim has been identified, San Bernardino County coroner’s officials have said.

The pickup truck rear-ended a 2008 Toyota RAV4 which, in turn, rear-ended a 2006 Toyota 4Runner that rear-ended a 2007 Ford F-250 pickup truck, according to the statement.

Before it was over, seven other vehicles also wrecked, the statement continues. Only two of the surviving drivers were taken to hospitals, both with reportedly minor injuries.

The investigation is ongoing, but distractions with vehicles that can weigh tens of tons can have disastrous consequences. Perhaps more concerted efforts from the CHP and its ongoing distracted driving crackdowns could have an effect. The program involves specialized patrols, according to the Mercury News. It’s designed to combat the following statistics:

According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2008 more than 30,000 drivers in California were involved in traffic collisions where inattention played a role. More than 1,000 of those drivers identified a cell phone as the inattention. Cell phones are the No. 1 identifiable inattention stated on collision reports.

The message from the CHP and local law enforcement agencies is simple: no phone call or text message is worth a human life.

Santa Cruz CHP Lt. Les Bishop said, “Not only do multitasking drivers put themselves at risk, they also increase the risk of injuring or killing their passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians or innocent victims traveling in another vehicle.”

[Image: Jaxed via Flickr]