A trucker from New Hampshire who was hauling garbage was both speeding and driving while distracted as he caused a trucking accident in New England involving an Amtrak train. The distracted driver realized too late that he and his tractor-trailer were going to collide with the train. By the time he hit the brake, his vehicle slid more than 200 feet directly into the path of the oncoming train. The fiery collision killed the truck driver and injured a number of others, according to the Boston Globe.
Reports indicate that the 35-year-old driver was on the phone with his employer for five minutes just before the accident happened. He was driving 20 miles above the speed limit. A following motorist said he witnessed the big rig swerve along that roadway.
Our Massachusetts trucking accident attorneys understand distracted drivers cause dangerous situations. They pose serious threats to all motorists on our roadways, regardless of how attentive we may be.
Investigators concluded that the truck driver was on the phone when the truck and the train collided. The train, traveling between Boston and Portland, was traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour with more than 110 passengers on board. Witnesses report that the train was thrown off the track, flames shot nearly three stories high and trash from the tractor-trailer was thrown everywhere. The truck driver’s body reportedly landed nearly 400 feet from the accident in a ditch. Two Amtrak employees and four passengers were injured.
The truck driver’s records indicate that he and his vehicle had passed an inspection at a weigh station in Eliot, located just before the scene of the accident. Reports also indicate that the train and the train’s horn, lights and gates were all working properly.
Another trucker, Greg Daigneault from North Berwick, says that the driver was significantly exceeding the speed limit and was driving erratically.
“He crossed the center line at least twice and steered into the breakdown lane at least twice,” said Daigneault.
Data from the trucker’s GPS unit indicated that he neglected to slow down when the posted speed limit went from 55 to 40 miles per hour, and then down to 30 miles per hour.
This accident happened as the driver was making his second run of the day for Triumvirate Environmental Inc., a company in Somerville. He had started his work day at 6 a.m. and the accident occurred shortly after 11 a.m.
The driver’s cell phone records reveal that he had 14 phone calls from 7:37 a.m. to the time of the accident. The last call, between him and his boss, happened during the same time that officers received 911 calls reporting the accident.
It’s no secret that driver distractions can lead to fatal accidents. The risks heighten when a large truck or a train is involved. Drivers are encouraged to stay focused, alert and distraction-free to avoid these types of accidents. All too often, innocent people are killed because of accidents that involve a distracted driver.