News outlets across the country — including the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Politico, CNN and NBC News — have reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife, Landra, and daughter, Lana, were critically injured when a semi truck slammed into the back of the family’s minivan on a Virginia freeway.
From NBC News:
Reports suggest the vehicles were in stop-and-go traffic on the interstate and the semi truck driver failed to slow in time and slammed into the back of the Reids’ minivan.
From USA Today:
A tractor-trailer rear-ended the minivan carrying Landra Reid, 69, and her daughter, Lana Barringer, 49. Barringer has been released from the hospital.
The accident occurred on a highway in suburban Washington. The AP said the driver of the tractor-trailer, 59-year-old Alan W. Snader of Ohio, was charged with reckless driving. He was not injured.
From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife and daughter were being treated in a hospital Thursday for serious injuries they sustained when their vehicle was rear-ended by a truck, a spokesman said.
Reid’s wife, Landra, 69, broke her back and neck in the accident, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said.
She and the couple’s adult daughter, Lana, were being treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital in suburban Virginia. Neither woman’s injuries appeared to be life-threatening, Manley said.
"While driving on a Washington, D.C., highway, their vehicle was rear-ended by a semi-truck," Manley said in a statement.
"Mrs. Reid has a broken nose, broken back and broken neck. Lana has a neck injury and facial lacerations. Both Mrs. Reid and Lana are conscious, can feel their extremities, and according to doctors their injuries are non-life threatening," Manley said. "Sen. Reid has been to the hospital and appreciates the support he and his family are receiving from Nevadans and his colleagues in the Senate."
Our thoughts are with Landra and Lana Reid.
One has to wonder what this truck driver was doing that he would slam into the back of a minivan in a congested traffic area in Virginia.
All motorists — and especially semi truck drivers with 80,000 pound rigs — are supposed to be alert and leave enough room in front of them to be able to avoid crashes like this one. Now, I agree that the vast majority of truckers out there are safe, but even a few bad apples give all the other tractor trailer drivers a bad name.
Nationwide, large trucks (known as tractor trailers, semi trucks, eighteen wheelers, diesel, big rigs, or commercial trucks) make up only about 3% of the vehicles on the road. However, they account for far more traffic fatalities. For example, in Missouri, semi truck crashes make up as much as 15% of traffic deaths. In Illinois, tractor trailer crashes cause more than 10% of traffic deaths.
Just a few weeks ago, a truck driver slammed into a woman’s parked vehicle while he was watching streaming porn on a laptop while driving. A truck driver slammed into the back of a passenger van in Indiana. A semi truck crashed into a parked vehicle in Texas. Late last year, a trucker never even hit his brakes before crashing into a minivan stopped in traffic and killed a three-year-old boy.
Why do trucking accidents like this keep happening? The most likely answers are distracted driving and fatigue.
Earlier this year, the federal government enacted regulations to crack down on distracted driving by truck and bus drivers. A study by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute found that distracted truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or a close call.
Driver fatigue is also a particularly dangerous — and completely preventable — cause of trucking accidents. Nearly 15 years ago, the NTSB issued a report warning of truck driver fatigue dangers.
The NTSB found that trucker fatigue was a contributing factor in 30%-40% of all diesel truck accidents. The NTSB found that proper sleep patterns are imperative for truck driver safety. Truckers must get 8 hours of continuous sleep after driving for 10 hours or after being on duty for 15 hours for proper safety.
The NTSB has also issued a warning that truck drivers should also be screened for a medical condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea denies people the rest they need, and it has been found to be a factor in incident involving every transportation mode, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in letters.
Too many people have been killed by semi truck crashes and trucking accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") lists the following as some of the most common causes of big rig accidents:
Poor Driver Training
Driver Fatigue (Tiredness)
Poor Driving Conditions
Failure To Yield The Right-Of-Way
Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol Or Drugs
Aggressive, Dangerous Or Reckless Driving
Mechanical Failure (Or Improper Maintenance)
Defective Parts (Such As Defective Steering Or Brakes)
Truckers and trucking companies must be mindful of each of these trucking accident causes.
Driving an 80,000 tractor trailer covering hundreds of thousands of miles is an awesome responsibility. Truckers and trucking corporations must be vigilant about safety.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.