The Oregonian reports that a section of US-20 in Jefferson County was closed for several hours Monday in the wake of an Oregon car crash that left one person dead and several others injured. As of mid-morning one lane of the road had been reopened but police were warning motorists to expect long delays.
The fatal accident took place near Santiam Summit as the road passes through the Willamette National Forest between Corvallis and Bend. Relatively few details are available about the accident, which took place Monday morning around 9:30 am, though the newspaper does report that Life Flight helicopters were required to evacuate some of the injured. The exact type of vehicles involved in this Oregon crash have not been announced, but the location and the poor weather conditions that appear to have contributed to the accident are a reminder of the special care that trucks need to take in areas like the Willamette National Forest.
I have written frequently about the dangers that trucks face on in mountain areas. When even interstate highway travel is dangerous because of the weather and terrain it is especially important to proceed cautiously on narrow mountain roads. My past blogs on Oregon truck accidents have focused mainly on the northeast corner of our state – particularly the area around Cabbage Hill on Interstate 84. In the case of this accident, however, the newspaper’s note that “a spokesman for the ODOT said the highway has been hit with a lot of snow in the past few days” is an important reminder that the conditions on Cabbage Hill, while often extreme, are hardly unique in the more remote parts of Oregon.
As an Oregon truck accident lawyer I believe it is important to keep safety in mind at all times – especially when large trucks are navigating the steep, often narrow, roads that can be found in many parts of the state. Most truck drivers, of course, are careful and responsible, but it is equally true that commercial pressures – driving and delivery schedules, maintenance schedules, etc – can often force lead trucking companies to cut corners. This sort of behavior puts the drivers themselves and everyone else on the road in danger, and it is one of the things our courts are well-equipped to stop by ensuring that trucking companies are accountable for the decisions they make.
The Oregonian: Fatal crash on US 20 near Santiam Summit in Jefferson County