He should have been watching the road, but instead an Ohio transport truck driver was watching pornography on his laptop computer. The semi-trailer Thomas Wallace was driving slammed into a disabled car on the New York State Thruway, killing 33-year-old Julie Stratton, a mother of two children.
Wallace, 45, of Brook Park, OH, pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and was sentenced to a minimum three year prison term.
Court heard that not only was Wallace distracted by watching a video while driving—he was also suffering from sleep deprivation.
Stratton’s car became disabled on the highway’s passing lane after striking a deer. Her vehicle was then struck from behind by the rig driven by Wallace. The fatality occurred in the Pembroke, NY, area 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Buffalo.
Share this story with your workers as a reminder of the need for both getting sufficient sleep before driving and of paying attention to the road instead of engaging in distractions.
Info to go: Read more about distracted driving by clicking on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
A partnership struck between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Department of Transportation will hopefully combat the problem of distracted driving among American workers.
OSHA will investigate and issue citations and penalties when it receives credible complaints that employers require texting while driving.
“It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving. It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
There will be a special emphasis on reaching younger workers, who fall into the age group most likely to text.
The initiative includes an education campaign for employers, calling on them to prevent occupationally related distracted driving, with a special focus on prohibiting texting while driving.
It also includes forming alliances with the National Safety Council and other organizations to provide outreach to employers, especially small employers, aimed at combating distracted driving.Read More
Construction zone flaggers are urging British Columbia drivers to show more caution after a flag person was struck by a vehicle that been driven through safety cones.
The female worker was not seriously injured in the incident in the metropolitan Vancouver area, which police say may have involved a combination of alcohol and speeding.
“People are just in such a hurry and it’s like they all have tunnel vision,” says Diane Herback, a spokeswomen for the British Columbia flaggers. “They are not looking around them when they are driving. They are texting, putting on makeup and doing whatever in their cars.
She says drivers need to slow down and pay more attention in work zones and police presence needs to be stepped up to catch drivers who speed through work zones. If that doesn’t happen, Herback says flaggers may have to resort to shutting down a road or a bridge for a rally to catch drivers’ attention.
According to WorkSafeBC, two flaggers died and 15 others suffered injuries on the job in 2009.
Info to go: Read more about highway work zone hazards by clicking on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
A spotter at a trucking company and the company he works for have both been charged after a co-worker was crushed beneath a trailer in Calgary.
The spotter, Keith Hargrave, has been charged with failing to take reasonable care to protect a fellow worker. Hargrave and the victim, 20-year-old James Rintoul, were helping to guide a truck and two trailers into a wash bay when Rintoul was run over by one of the trailers.
Denel Trucking, which employed Hargrave and Rintoul, has been charged with failure to ensure the safety of a worker in connection with the Aug. 8, 2008 fatality. The company is based in De Winton, AB.Read More
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Your odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash are 45 percent lower if you are wearing a seatbelt at the time of impact than if you are not buckled in. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
1: Only 1 percent of passengers wearing seatbelts are ejected from car seats during automobile crashes. (Naval Safety Center)
3: Of every four families who place their children in child safety seats, 3 do not use these seats properly. (James Madison University)
16: Males in the 16 to 25 age group are the least likely to wear seatbelts. (Car-Accidents.com)
50: For survivors of motor vehicle accidents, medical costs average 50 percent higher for drivers and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. (Car-Accidents.com)
83: Seatbelt use across the US reached 83 percent in 2008. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
92: In Canada, 92 percent of all occupants of light-duty vehicles use seatbelts. (Transport Canada 2009 Survey of Seatbelt Use)Read More
Two men who allegedly took an 11,000-kilogram compactor for a joyride west of Edmonton before abandoning it on train tracks, are being sued by CN Rail.
Also being sued is Aecon Construction Company, a contractor who allegedly left the compactor at an unsecured worksite with an unlocked electrical isolation switch cover, making it vulnerable to theft.
An 86-car freight train slammed into the paving machine in darkness on July 10, 2008, causing two locomotives and 12 cars to derail. Fortunately, none of the train cars was carrying hazardous materials. No injuries were reported.
The lawsuit alleges that the men, both 27, either knew or ought to have known that trains were likely to proceed along the tracks upon which the paving machine had been abandoned.
Police said it was fortunate that the derailment didn’t cause train cars to fall onto busy Highway 16 below. CN Rail is seeking $2 million for damage to the train, tracks and surrounding property.Read More
Leaving an accident scene to get help was the wrong thing for an employee to do after his work vehicle struck and killed a horse. That action has resulted in a large jury award to a woman whose car struck the dead horse in darkness.
A jury in Washington State has awarded Nanette Aurdal $2.7 million for injuries she received in the December 2001 accident.
The jury found that Sprint’s United Telephone Company of the Northwest was liable because one of its employees, John Burston, had left the scene after the bucket truck he had been driving struck the horse. The truck was carrying flares, cones and other safety devices that could have been utilized to warn other drivers that a dead horse was on the road.
Aurdal suffered spinal injuries that resulted in chronic pain and significant financial hardship. The jury heard that her injuries made it impossible for her to have children and she had to close down a family business because she could only work for two hours per day.Read More
The crushing death of a truck driver has resulted in the first reckless endangerment conviction in the Australian state of Victoria, along with hefty fines for both the company and its director.
Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd. has been fined the equivalent of $695,000 in connection with the death of 21-year-old driver Bradley Alford in December 2006. The company was convicted of recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person at a workplace in danger of serious injury.
Martin John Smith, director of Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd., was fined the equivalent of $111,000 after being convicted of failing to provide safe working conditions for employees.
A Mack truck driven by Alford went out of control and overturned on a steep slope. The young worker was ejected and crushed. Melbourne County Court found that Orbit Drilling had failed to ensure that Alford was properly instructed and trained to operate the truck off-road on a steep slope.
It also failed to ensure that the truck he was driving was in proper working order. There was a problem with its brakes.
Alford had held a license to drive a Mack truck for only two weeks when he was instructed to drive an overweight truck in off-road conditions on a slope exceeding 10 degrees.
Instead of reversing onto a drilling pad located on top of a steep hill, the truck gained speed before rolling over at the bottom of the hill. The court heard Alford was not trained to understand gear selection for the type of terrain upon which he was driving, nor had he received safety training or had his driving skills supervised.Read More
A report from the city of Jeffersonville, IN, into a fatal five-vehicle collision reveals that a city employee who was involved had taken two prescription drugs for back pain before starting his shift.
A garbage packer truck struck a small car driven by a 19-year-old woman, causing her death. She had stopped her vehicle in a road construction zone when the truck crashed into it. Three other vehicles were involved and three people were taken to hospital.
The report states that the garbage packer driver had taken Lortab and Flexeril for back pain. Both drugs contain warnings about operating machinery or driving. Lortab can cause light-headedness, dizziness, sleepiness, impaired thinking and impaired physical abilities, while Flexeril can cause dizziness.
Crum told police he had not seen three orange road work signs placed between 1,500 and 900 feet ahead of a flagger. The garbage packer hit the stopped car at about 35 miles per hour.
Share this story with your workers and warn them about driving while taking muscle relaxants/pain killers for back pain.Read More
Using tap water as opposed to windshield washer fluid during warm weather months might seem like an environmentally friendly, cost-saving idea. However, it could put drivers at greater risk for Legionnaires’ disease.
Great Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) says stagnant water in a vehicle’s washer fluid tank, heated by the engine, provides an ideal environment for the development of Legionella bacteria. It could be responsible for 20 percent of cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal respiratory illness.
An HPA study found traces of Legionella bacteria in about one in five cars where water had been used to clean windshields.
After spraying water on a windshield, a driver may be exposed to the bacteria via a vehicle’s ventilation system or through an open driver’s window. The solution for avoiding such exposures is to use windshield washer fluid, not water, in the windshield washer reservoir.
The agency estimates that professional drivers are five times more likely to be infected with Legionnaires’ disease because of the length of time they spend driving in vehicles.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fatigue, headache, dry cough, fever and muscle aches. Between 10 and 15 percent of people who get the disease die from it.Read More