A 34-year-old man from Beckley, West Virginia, was killed Wednesday at a tollbooth near the Pax toll plaza on the West Virginia Turnpike. A 46-year-old tractor-trailer driver was unable to stop his truck at the toll plaza and plowed into the rear end of the victim's Suzuki SX4. The impact caused the Suzuki to hit the back of another 18-wheeler that was already stopped in an adjacent lane at the toll booth.
A West Virginia State Police officer who was dispatched to the scene of the truck accident at 6:35 p.m. said the Raleigh County man was killed instantly as a result of catastrophic injuries sustained in the crash. The incident remains under investigation.
While large commercial trucks account for just 3 percent of registered vehicles on U.S. highways, one out of every 10 fatal traffic accidents involve tractor-trailers. Of those, 73 percent are caused by the truck driver and the vast majority of fatal truck accidents usually occur during daylight hours. Only 6.1 percent are caused by defective brakes.
In this instance, it is foreseeable that the victim's family will have a right to be awarded damages for the wrongful death of their family member. If it is discovered that the truck's brakes were faulty, then the owner of the truck, the party responsible for its maintenance and the brake manufacturer may also be liable for the man's death. It is also possible that the safety features and design of the toll plaza may also be called into question.
Source: The Charleston Gazette, "Raleigh County man dies in rear-end collision accident on Turnpike," June 21, 2012