Freeway Pileup Highlights Winter Driving Dangers

Posted On: January 31, 2013 by Matthew D. Kaplan

The Associated Press is reporting that two people died and 20 people have been injured in a multi-car and truck accident on Interstate-75 near Detroit. The fatal road accident involved “more than two dozen vehicles including tractor-trailers,” according to the news agency, and highlights the need for caution during this winter driving season.

Though this particular accident took place half a continent away from Oregon, the circumstances are some that we are all too familiar with here in the Pacific Northwest. Be it on the congested roads around Portland or the notoriously dangerous Cabbage Hill segment of Interstate-84 in the east of the state, Oregon semi-truck accidents are a serious problem on the roads of our state and region.

In 2010 alone, the last year for which Oregon Department of Transportation data is available, there were 649 Oregon truck crashes on our roads involving semi-trailers, resulting in nearly 250 injuries and 25 deaths. As these figures indicate, the operation of large trucks calls for special care and caution on the part of drivers. Of course, semi-truck operators are not alone in this responsibility. The accident figures cited here are only a fraction of the total number of Oregon truck crashes that take place every year.

This is especially true when the weather is bad, yet all of us have been on the roads at one time or another and seen fellow drivers operating their vehicles negligently.
Drivers, whether of ordinary cars or large commercial trucks, need to understand that it is always their legal responsibility to drive safely and cautiously as conditions permit – in other words, you can’t legally drive at the posted speed limit if the road and weather conditions make that an unsafe speed. Similarly, if one is driving a semi-truck and has reason to suspect that road conditions may be icy and involve stop-and-go traffic one has an obligation to proceed with extreme caution.

Safety is not just a matter of police enforcement in real time, or court action after-the-fact. As an Oregon truck accident attorney I am particularly aware of how important it is for each of us to acknowledge, and act on, a sense of shared responsibility when it comes to traffic safety in the winter, and throughout the year.


AP via The Oregonian: 2 People killed, 20 injured in Michigan freeway wreck

Oregon Department of Transportation: Motor Carrier Transportation/Truck Safety Page