Lois Campbell, 64, of Brea, was killed and her husband, Thomas Campbell, was injured in a truck accident in Santa Barbara County the morning of July 9, 2013. According to a news report in The Lompoc Record, the fatal tractor-trailer crash occurred on the southbound Highway 101 at Dos Pueblos Canyon in Goleta. California Highway Patrol officials say a 2008 International Durastar towing a payload was northbound when it crossed the center divider and struck the 2007 Ford pickup driven by Campbell. She died at the scene and her husband suffered moderate injuries. The driver of the truck was treated at the scene for minor injuries. Officials are still looking into why the truck driver, a 51-year-old Santa Maria man, crossed into opposing lanes of traffic.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 3,887 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2012. Although precise statistics are not available on fatigue-related crashes, the DOT cites a study showing that roughly 13 percent of large truck crashes involve a sleep-deprived driver.
What Caused This Truck Crash?
Based on this news report, it appears that the truck driver crossed the center divider and struck the couple’s vehicle. California Vehicle Code section 21651 (a): “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful…to drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.”
In this particular case, I trust officials are looking into what caused the truck driver to cross the center divider. Was he fatigued or asleep at the wheel? Did alcohol or drugs play a part? Was the driver traveling at an excessive rate of speed? Was there some type of mechanical failure related to poor vehicle maintenance? These and several other questions must be asked in order to determine precisely what caused this fatal crash.
In cases where the truck driver is at fault, both the truck driver and his employer can be held liable for the victims’ losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for their losses as well. An experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled cases against trucking companies and their insurance carriers will be able to help victims and their families protect their legal rights obtain fair compensation for their losses.