The Worst Semi-Truck Accidents in California History
California has seen some terrible semi-truck accidents over the years. This should not come as a huge surprise, especially since California is the most heavily populated state in the entire nation. California also has the highest GDP, with $3.36 trillion. Not only is California heavily involved with trade, but it also has more people and more mouths to feed. This means that California sees tons of semi-trucks on its roads at any given time, whether they are transporting food for its many citizens or contributing in some way to its powerhouse economy. California also employs more truck drivers than any other state, and the law of averages tells us that there are going to be at least a few bad apples in that crowd.
Even if a truck accident claims a single life or causes a single disability, it is a tragic incident that deserves to be remembered. But there are some truck accidents in California’s history that have burned a lasting impression on the lives of countless families. These accidents have hurt scores of people in a single moment of twisted metal and screeching brakes. These accidents show us how serious truck accidents can be in California. We would do well to make the same mistakes that led to these accidents, but history has a tendency of repeating itself.
So, what can you do if you were injured in a California semi-truck accident? It is too late to learn from history if you find yourself with medical bills, missed wages, and psychological trauma. The only way to pursue justice, closure, and compensation is to get in touch with a lawyer in California who has dealt with semi-truck accidents before. In addition to providing compensation, a personal injury lawsuit can help deter negligent trucking companies and truckers from hurting more people in the future.
The Coalinga Wreck of 1991
The worst semi-truck in California history is probably the Coalinga wreck of 1991, which was caused by a serious dust storm on Interstate 5. A total of 104 vehicles were caught up in this accident, which caused 17 deaths and 150 injuries. Everyone already knew that this area was famous for dust storms, and these weather events had killed people in the past. In 1977, the Great Bakersfield Dust Storm of 1977 caused seven deaths in various crashes across Interstate 5. But by 1991, things had changed. There were more cars and semi-trucks on the road – and more potential for tragedy. Worse still, the weather conditions were especially bad in 1991 – as the valley was dealing with six straight years of drought. It was dustier than ever before. Fields that were usually filled with crops were lying fallow – leaving the roads utterly unprotected from the dust.
On November 29, 1991, the dust storm blew winds of up to 48 miles per hour. Visibility was extremely poor, to the point where accident victims reported near-zero visibility in the moments leading up to the crash. Wind speeds apparently rose to 27 meters per second. It is not exactly clear what caused the initial crash. According to reports, a number of chain-reaction crashes occurred simultaneously. One pile-up involved 20 cars. Another 1.5 mile stretch of the highway also had 11 semi-trucks involved in various accidents, making this one of the biggest semi-truck crashes in history. While attempting to respond to the accident, two first responder vehicles – a fire truck and an ambulance – were involved in separate crashes.
So, what made this accident so deadly? It was mostly down to weather and poor visibility. If conditions had not been so poor, this crash probably never would have happened. But the truth is that we just do not know the full details behind the crash. This was before the age of social media, and people did not have smartphones with which to capture details of the crash. The crash may have been caused, at least in part, by semi truck negligence.
The Fresno Pile-Up of 2007
In 2007, over 100 cars and semi-trucks crashed on Highway 99 near Fresno. Once again, poor weather conditions were to blame. The highway was said to have been shrouded in fog, making it very difficult to navigate. Despite over 100 vehicles being involved, only two people died. This makes it a much less deadly crash compared to the Coalinga dust storm wreck. However, every death is a tragedy, and one of the victims in 2007 was just 6 years old. Two trucks spilled gallons of diesel fuel onto the highway when their fuel tanks ruptured, but thankfully this did not lead to explosions or fires. One truck carrying live turkeys was stranded in the middle of the wreck. While the fog was certainly a factor, it probably was not as limiting as the dust storm, suggesting that at least some negligence occurred that day on the part of the drivers and truckers.
The 2002 Long Beach Crash
In 2002, 194 vehicles were involved in a crash near Long Beach. The crash occurred over a two-mile stretch of highway on Interstate 710, just south of Los Angeles. Miraculously, no one died. However, if you wanted to measure the severity of truck accidents purely by the number of vehicles involved, this one would take the top spot. In addition, five people were seriously injured – probably suffering disabilities that changed their lives forever. Some might argue that certain disabilities are worse than death. Once again, weather conditions were to blame, according to the authorities. Like the Fresno disaster, this crash seemed to have been caused – at least in part – by fog.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for an experienced truck accident attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs across the Golden State – including those who have been hurt by semi-trucks. We know how serious and life-altering these incidents can be, and we are ready to guide you toward compensation, justice, and closure. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan based on your unique situation.