Deadly Nevada Truck / Train Crash Should Bring Awareness To Unsafe Driving Practices

by Andrew R. Young | July 1st, 2011

Online media reporter, yorkdispatch.com, reports that the truck driver, Lawrence Valli, involved in the deadly Nevada Semi-Truck, Amtrak crash was the lead truck of a three-truck convoy.  The other two (2) drivers of the truck convoy were following and witnessed the events of the crash unfold.  They watched helplessly as Valli’s truck continued forward as the warning lights and the crossing gates were coming down.   Apparently, Valli made a late attempt to brake and prevent the collision leaving tire marks that extended over one hundred yards.

Based upon reported witness accounts and my experience as both an attorney representing victims of truck accident cases and also as someone who has a Class A CDL license, it is my opinion that Valli needlessly endangered the Amtrak Passengers as a result of being either a distracted driver or driving while fatigued.

To prevent the problem of driver fatigue, the Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act has been introduced to the United States Senate as Senate Bill 3884.  The purpose of this bill is “to require the use of electronic on-board recording (EOBR) devices in motor carriers to improve compliance with hours of service regulations.”  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reviewing regulations for EOBRs to replace paper logs to ensure driver alertness.  On May 31, 2011, I attended one of the hearings for the EOBR regulations being considered.  This technology has been endorsed by a number of organizations including the American Trucking Association.

Awareness about distracted driving, such as texting while driving, is also a likely reason why Valli was unable to stop the assured clear distance and avoid hitting the Amtrak California Zephyr.   The U.S. Department of Transportation is sponsoring an official website for distracted driving, to bring further awareness to the dangers associated with taking your eyes off the road.  It is my opinion that John Davis Trucking, Co., Inc. must be held accountable for lax hiring, training and supervision of Lawrence Valli.  Amtrak filed a lawsuit against the trucking company as they work within the legal system to right this wrong.

Regardless of the reason for the crash, this tragedy should be held regarded as opportunity to further bring awareness to unsafe driving practices.

Authored by Attorney Andrew R. Young – Class A CDL License