Tractor trailer accidents in CT can result from many different circumstances. One such cause, which is somewhat unusual, is when a truck accident occurs because the tractor trailer gets stuck between an overpass or bridge and is wedged in and unable to move. According to the CT Department of Transportation, these accidents occur about 100 times throughout the State of CT in any give year. In other words, trucks get stuck under bridges and overpasses, on average, two times a week.
Last Wednesday, despite these odds, four tractor trailers became stuck under bridges and overpasses in four different cities throughout CT. Three of these truck accidents happened, on average, once an hour. The first such truck accident happened in Milford around 6:20 a.m. when the driver did not realize the height restriction and failed to fit under a Metro North overpass at Old Gate Lane. The accident closed the road to traffic for several hours. A student driver was operating the 18 wheeler and despite the fact that a driving instructor was in the truck, the driver and instructor failed to notice the low clearance and became stuck.
Kevin Nursick of the Connecticut Department of Transportation says the bridges are marked according to federal guidelines."We will post the height of those bridges on the structures and before the structures," said Nursick. The legal height for trucks in CT is 13'6". The bridge in Milford where this truck accident occurred is a full foot lower than the legal height. At least one truck driver stated that at the intersection of New Haven Avenue there is no sign warning drivers of the overpass and restricted height, so when vehicles make the turn, they don't see a sign until it's too late. Metro North Train service was not impacted by the incident.
The second truck was lodged and trapped under an overpass on Pond Meadow Road in Westbrook at approximately 6:40 a.m. The third accident of the morning, according to the Danbury News Times, happened at approximately 9:00 a.m. when a tractor trailer hauling mattresses became wedged under the West Street Bridge in Danbury. The fourth truck accident occurred in Stamford on Atlantic Avenue later that afternoon. One major problem is that truckers set their GPS devices and follow the directions give without regard to the practical problem of the lack of information on bridge and overpass heights.
Some companies equip their trucks with GPS devices that includes the overhead clearances for tractor trailers and other large trucks. These specially designed devices are more expensive and are not utilized by enough truckers. While the bridges and overpasses generally do not sustain significant damages the same cannot be said of the trucks. Many times, depending on the speed and type of truck, the tops of these trucks get sliced opened. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries in these four truck accidents. This story underscores the constant need for all drivers to be actively involved and forever vigilant in how they operate their vehicles.
Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state. A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut" and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents." He has also co-authored the best selling book "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Know and Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!" He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.