Route 11/North Valley Pike Tractor Trailer Crash

1/2/20 Post Update — The Harlow family requests assistance with funeral expenses during this very difficult time.  If you would like to help out, please see the information below.  Please consider helping this family by making a donation for funeral expenses to Kyger Funeral Home.

The Rockingham County community has suffered yet another traffic-related tragedy.  This time, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019,there was a tractor trailer crash on Route 11/North Valley Pike in Rockingham County.  At the time of the crash, a tractor trailer which was attempting to turn left into a gas station from Route 11, collided with an SUV.  Dustin Harlow of Harrisonburg was driving the SUV and Nancy Lambert of Rockingham was a passenger in Harlow’s car.  As a result of the crash, Harlow and Lambert both died of their injuries.

2019 was a difficult year for traffic crashes in Rockingham County with fatalities occurring on Route 259, Interstate 81, Spring Creek Road, Hinton Road, Fox Mountain Road, Spotswood Trail, Eastside Highway, Port Republic Road, Brocks Gap Road, and now North Valley Pike.

2018 — Truck Accident Statistics Show High Fatality Rate

In 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published statistics which showed a 3 percent increase in truck accident fatalities nationwide from the previous year.  In 2018, large trucks were more likely to be involved in fatal multiple vehicle accidents and were not as frequently involved in fatal single-vehicle accidents.

Reasons for the increase in fatal accidents involving large trucks include failure of the driver to obey traffic laws, vehicle failure, overcompensating while steering, tailgating, fatigued drivers, and physical impairments in the truck drivers.  Speeding was the most frequently reported factor in driver-related fatalities while “impairment” (which includes fatigue, alcohol and illness) was the second most common reason for fatalities.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Study

A study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found the following about crashes involving large trucks:

  1.  In 27%, the trucks were found to have brake problems
  2.  In 19% of the accidents, the drivers were unfamiliar with the route
  3.  In 10%, the truck drivers felt under pressure
  4.  In 7%, the truck drivers were overly tired
  5.  In 5%, the truck drivers were driving in an aggressive manner
  6.  In 1%, the truck drivers reported illness

These statistics represent the trend nationwide with accidents involving large trucks.  Locally, however, before the Christmas Eve tragedy, Rockingham County had not seen a fatality involving a large truck since 2017, although there have been numerous large truck accident which caused injuries.

When you think of large truck accidents, you tend to think about them occurring along interstates and freeways.  However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most large truck crash fatalities occur on major roadways other than interstates.

Stopping Distances for Large Trucks

Obviously, it takes much longer to stop a tractor trailer than a passenger vehicle.  For instance, if a car and a tractor trailer are both traveling 40 miles per hour and start to brake at the same time, the tractor trailer will travel 45 feet further before it can come to a complete stop.  Additionally, while a passenger vehicle needs about 306 feet to stop after braking, a tractor trailer requires 525 feet to stop.  This is almost the length of 1 1/2 football fields.  This stopping distance can be increased if a vehicle is traveling faster.  The faster the vehicle travels, the longer it takes it to stop.

Talk to a Lawyer First!

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a large truck or tractor trailer, you might be contacted by the trucking company’s insurance representative very quickly.  Sometimes, insurance companies will try to call you as soon as the day after the accident.  Before you talk to any insurance company, you should get the advice of an experienced truck accident lawyer.  Most lawyers will give you a free consultation to talk about what you might be entitled to receive.  At the Ritchie Law Firm, you can talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer for free . . . NO STRINGS ATTACHED!!

Whether the insurance company contacts you quickly or not, the faster you seek legal advice from a lawyer who knows truck accidents, the better.  With a tractor trailer crash, prompt investigation is critical to successfully recovering money damages in your case.  Because accidents involving tractor trailers are devastating, making sure that things like skid mark measurements and impact marks are preserved are often essential to a good recovery.

Experienced Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers

The five lawyers at the Ritchie Law Firm have more 145 years of combined experienced handling truck accident cases.  See our tractor trailer accident Case Results here.  Throughout the nearly half century history of the Ritchie Law Firm, our lawyers have handled thousands of devastating crash cases involving serious and complex injuries such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, multiple bone fractures, and even death.

You should not have to bear the financial burden of a wreck that was caused by a negligent truck driver.  Accidents involving tractor trailers are devastating. At the Ritchie Law Firm, we can help you hold the other driver accountable and help you get the compensation you need to pay your bills and recover.

Talk with a Virginia and West Virginia Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries in a truck or tractor trailer accident in Virginia, Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.

Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.

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