I-82 Sees a Lot of Truck Accidents; Telaré Law Has the Scoop

I-82 Sees a Lot of Truck Accidents; Telaré Law Has the ScoopWe Washingtonians are no strangers to semi trucks. Our roads host these big vehicles regularly, our long and flat roads offering plenty of room. Interstate 82 is a highway that sees a lot of traffic. It stretches all along South Central Washington state, starting up in Ellensburg, and traveling down through Kennewick, and ending just south of Hermiston. Long highways like this are popular not only for semi trucks but also for the everyday citizen driving to and from work on a daily basis. That is just one of the reasons we see more than the average amount of accidents on this interstate. Many of the crashes on the I-82 involve semi-trucks, and for that reason, it is important that if YOU are traveling on that highway, take caution, and give those trucks plenty of room.

Too many crashes

Taking a look at the Washington State vehicle crash portal, we can see a vast majority of the 2,989 car accidents that occurred in south central Washington state this year took place on the I-82. While many of these car accidents reported no apparent injury (though that does not report any injuries that may have been discovered a week or two after the incident), there were at least 81 major injuries, and 48 fatalities. And, that is just in that small section of the state.

While many accidents happened this year (plenty involving semi trucks), here are a few highlights:

  • January 27: The Washington State Patrol (WSP) responded to a collision on I-82 near Mile Post 49, just outside Zillah, Washington, in Yakima County. The incident involved two semis, one of which, a Keywest truck, rolled and collided with another semi carrying apples. The Keywest truck’s engine caught fire after the impact. Yakima County Fire District #5 arrived at the scene, successfully extinguishing the fire. The Keywest truck driver sustained minor injuries, while there were no reported injuries for the other semi driver.
    • About rollover accidents. Several factors can increase the chances of a truck rollover, with common causes involving trucks speeding around curves, truckers overcorrecting, driving in bad weather, and encountering poor road design. The primary cause is often the loss of stability, where the weight distribution on the truck’s wheels becomes uneven.
  • March 13th: The incident occurred on the eastbound side of the freeway at the Locust Grove Road exit. According to the Washington State Patrol, athe car was in the same lane and direction as the semi, and it went under the truck, ultimately striking the trailer’s internal bumper.
    • About underride accidents. A truck underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle, such as a car, collides with a large truck and ends up sliding underneath it. In these accidents, the smaller vehicle can become wedged beneath the truck, often leading to severe damage and injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Truck underride accidents are particularly dangerous due to the potential for the car’s passenger compartment to be crushed, resulting in serious or fatal injuries. These accidents commonly happen in situations where the smaller vehicle is unable to stop in time, and the impact causes it to slide underneath the higher chassis of the truck. Underride guards, protective barriers mounted on the rear of trucks, aim to prevent or mitigate the severity of these accidents by stopping smaller vehicles from sliding beneath the truck in the event of a collision. In this instance, it appears that the truck did not have any underride guard to prevent the car from sliding underneath.
  • October 9th: A crash occurred on I-82, west of the Clearwater and Badger Rd exit, resulting in a car catching fire. The driver, who began nodding off, drifted off the road and slid down an embankment, leading to the ignition of a fire. Upon arrival, Benton County Fire District 1 (BCFD1) found the car fully ablaze, with the fire spreading to nearby vegetation and posing a threat to a nearby structure. Fortunately, BCFD1 quickly extinguished the flames, preventing any injuries. The Washington State Patrol, assisted by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, has taken over the investigation.
    • About fatigued driving. While this accident did not involve a truck, it was caused by something that truck drivers commonly experience: fatigued driving. The National Safety Council reports that “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep while driving, and many more admit to driving when they were sleep-deprived.” The National Sleep Foundation states that around 6,400 people die annually from crashes caused by drowsy driving. Shockingly, the Truck Safety Coalition reports that “studies sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that 65% of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.” Fatigued driving can happen to anyone, but when truck drivers succumb to drowsiness after driving hours on end, it can have catastrophic consequences.

Long interstates like the I-82 prove the dangers that semi trucks pose on a daily basis. While they may be a common sight, it is important not to underestimate them.

What are some tips when driving near semi trucks?

When driving around semi-trucks, prioritizing safety is crucial for both you and the truck drivers. Begin by ensuring that you stay visible to the truck driver, especially considering the larger blind spots trucks have. Maintaining a safe following distance is key to providing ample space for the truck to stop or maneuver in case of an emergency.

Avoid cutting in front of trucks and pass them safely by signaling clearly, accelerating promptly, and merging back into your lane after passing. Exercise extra caution in adverse weather conditions, as trucks take longer to stop on wet or icy roads. Be mindful of a truck’s blind spots, commonly referred to as “No-Zones,” and avoid lingering in these areas.

Use your signals to communicate your intentions to truck drivers and anticipate their wide turns, especially when turning right. Avoid distracted driving, as staying focused on the road is crucial when sharing it with large trucks. Patience is essential, recognizing that trucks have limitations, and aggressive driving can lead to unsafe situations.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck, and you believe the truck driver (or the truck itself) was at fault, know that you have rights, and you deserve compensation. At Telaré Law,, we understand that the injuries that truck accidents can cause are often devastating, and can change your life forever. Proper and just restitution is necessary for you to pay for treatments, pain and suffering, therapy, and any mobility devices you may need going forward. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, call us at our offices in Kennewick and Richland, or use our contact form.