Truck Driver Charged in Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crash

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

Truck Driver Charged in Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crash

Trucker charged in Chesapeake Bay Bridge crash that sent car plunging into the water

By , Thursday, August 29, 12:20 PM

The driver for a Canadian trucking company who rammed a car on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge last month, pushing it into the water and forcing its driver to swim for her life, has been charged with negligence, driving too fast for conditions and other traffic infractions that could result in fines of up to $670, police said Thursday.

Investigators said Gabor Louasz was travelling about 50 mph when his tractor-trailer struck the back of a car driven by Morgan Lake, who had slowed to 4 mph in heavy traffic.

“A primary reason for crashes on the Bay Bridge is from tailgating,” said Col. Michael Kundrat, chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. “Maintaining a proper following distance is one of the simplest things drivers can do to stay safe and keep other motorists safe.”

Louasz, 29, a Hungarian who had received a three-month Canadian work permit to drive for the Prince Edward Island firm Bulk Carriers PEI, could pay the fines or opt to appeal them in court.

Police on Thursday confirmed an earlier report by the National Transportation Safety Board that Louasz was distracted by lights and sounds behind him, and was following them in his side-view mirror when he plowed into Lake’s car about a quarter mile after they began to cross the eastbound span of the bridge July 19.

The impact sandwiched Lake’s car between the truck and the vehicle in front of her, finally causing her 2007 Chrysler Sebring to ride up over the guard rail and plunge 27 feet into seven-foot-deep water.

Lake, 24, escaped through a broken window and swam to a nearby bridge abutment, where boaters and rescue crews came to her aid. She was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Neither Lovasz nor the driver of the second vehicle, a Mazda CX-5 sport-utility vehicle, were injured.

“We’re very happy that the driver was charged,” said Lake’s lawyer, Wayne Cohen. “We hope this is the first step to making the bridge a safer place.”

Cohen said Lake has not filed a lawsuit, but is “considering all options” as she continues to recover physically and emotionally.

“She was very banged up afterward and still isn’t back to her regular routine,” he said. “She has a tough time traveling in cars and she can’t bring herself to go over a bridge.”

First Sgt. Kevin Ayd said that Louasz was driving faster than the speed of traffic allowed and strayed from his lane prior to the impact.

“He was looking in the mirror,” Ayd said.

The earlier NTSB report said Louasz “had turned his attention to the driver-side mirror due to lights and sounds behind him. He said that when he looked forward again, he saw that traffic was stopped, and he attempted to avoid colliding with the Chrysler by moving to the left but could not avoid the collision.”

Police said Thursday that when Louasz looked forward, he noticed that vehicles in front of him were stopping and tried to turn his tractor-trailer left to avoid them. He swerved left but struck the Chrysler, and then hit it a second time, pushing it over the wall.

The report also made reference to an April 13 crash at the same location that involved two vehicles but caused no injuries.

“Both the April and July crashes were a direct result of distracted driving,” Kundrat said. “With two similar incidents over the last few months, we are taking a closer look at this area of the bridge to evaluate what can be done to enhance safety. We’re analyzing potential strategies including flashing Congestion Ahead signs, requiring headlight use during two-way traffic operations and additional rumble strips.”

The formal charges against Louasz, as listed by the police, are failure to control speed to avoid a collision ($130 fine), unsafe lane changing ($130 fine), negligent driving ($280 fine) and speed greater than reasonable and prudent on highway ($130 fine).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/trucker-charged-in-chesapeake-bay-bridge-crash-that-sent-car-plunging-into-the-water/2013/08/29/e3cc604c-10c1-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_print.html

Truck Driving – Ranks in the Top Ten of America’s Most Dangerous Jobs

For those who know the dangers of large trucks it is not surpring to learn that the job of truck driver once again ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in America. To read more about the Department of Labor’s report, click here.

NC Advocates Press Release

THREE MONTHS AFTER THE DEVASTATING TRUCK CRASH THAT TOOK THE LIVES OF HER DAUGHTERS, MARIANNE KARTH JOINS TRUCK SAFETY ADVOCATES TO SEEK TRUCK SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Tuesday, August 13, 2013) – Today, Marianne Karth joined North Carolina Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) members Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC), Jackie Novak (Edneyville, NC) and Paul Badger (Davidson, NC) to meet with Senator Burr and focus attention on vital truck safety issues.

Three months ago, Marianne, her son Caleb and daughters AnnaLeah and Mary set out on a trip from their home in Rocky Mount, NC for Texas to celebrate four graduations and a wedding. Marianne was looking forward to delivering the wedding dress she had sewn to the bride, her daughter Rebekah, and the whole Karth family was excited to reunite with friends and family. Their plans changed in an instant when a semi-truck driver slammed into the rear of Marianne’s car as she waited in slowed traffic. The Karth’s car spun around and became wedged underneath another truck. Marianne and her son Caleb were injured. AnnaLeah was killed instantly, and Mary died a few days later.

“The loss of AnnaLeah and Mary has torn a hole in our family, and I was devastated to learn that we are not alone in our grief. Every year nearly 4,000 people are killed on our nation’s highways in truck crashes,” said Marianne Karth. “I’ve learned that truck crash fatalities and injuries are an epidemic that must be halted. We can’t keep losing kids because we fail to require widely researched and proven safety advances such as stronger, lower underride guards. It pains my heart to think that my daughters may have survived if the trucks involved in the crash had been equipped with better underride guards.”

Jennifer Tierney, North Carolina Volunteer Coordinator for the TSC, board member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and a member of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) stated, “This September will mark thirty years since my father was killed in an underride crash. I cannot believe that our country still does not require improved rear underride guards, and we have yet to require side and front underride guards. We know that these guards will save lives, and reduce serious injuries. New and improved underride guard requirements are long overdue. I look forward to meeting with my fellow North Carolinian, our new Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Secretary Foxx, to discuss how we can work together to save lives.”

Jackie Novak, North Carolina Volunteer Advocate for the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) after losing her son Chuck, and Chuck’s girlfriend Theresa Seaver, in a truck crash in 2010 which claimed the lives of three others and injured several more, added, “When my only child was killed, leaving my grandson without a father, our grief felt endless. And, then it was compounded when we learned that the trucking company’s insurance would not be able to cover the costs of those injured in the crash, let alone provide
for the families of those killed. The requirements for insurance for motor carriers are so tremendously inadequate when compared to the capacity for damages caused by a truck crash. It’s unfathomable why minimum insurance levels have not been increased in over thirty years. I am so grateful for legislation to remedy this imbalance including Rep. Cartwright’s (D-PA) recently introduced, a Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (H.R. 2730), SAFE HAUL. I urge our North Carolina Members of Congress to support SAFE HAUL.”

Paul Badger, whose father Bill Badger was killed nearly nine years ago when a tired trucker fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into his car, noted, “Truck crash related fatalities increased in 2010 and then once again in 2011, and in spite of this, the push to increase truck size and weight limits continues. It is bad enough that truck crash fatalities are on the rise; truck size and weight increases will only make matters worse. I urge Members of Congress to resist efforts to increase truck sizes and weights, and especially before the Congressionally-mandated two-year truck size and weight study on the impacts to safety, infrastructure, costs and the environment is completed and reviewed.”

The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policymakers and media about truck safety issues. More information is available at www.trucksafety.org, and on Marianne Karth’s facebook page in honor of AnnaLeah and Mary at:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=495058843909968&id=464993830249803.

SAFETY GROUPS AND DRIVERS APPALLED BY COURT DECISION ON TRUCK DRIVER HOURS OF SERVICE RULE

 

TRUCK DRIVER HOURS OF SERVICE FAILS TO REDUCE DRIVER FATIGUE

To read the full release, please click here.