NHTSA recently published the statistics of fatalities on US highways in 2015, which showed an increase of 7.7 percent. This means that 35,200 people died in 2015 compared to 32,675 people in 2014. An NHTSA Administrator said part of the increase is due to lower fuel prices and drivers traveling excess miles. The agency should focus on correcting bad human behavior on the road in order to prevent accidents, since about 94 percent of accidents are caused by bad decisions and human error.
A costly example of human error is a case that occurred in April of 2015 when a truck driver in Mississippi, representing the transportation company “Total Transportation”, did not stop the truck on time while approaching stopped traffic, crashing into a vehicle full of nursing students from the University of Georgia. The crash killed five students and left three others with serious injuries.
The accident caused civil lawsuits and criminal charges to be brought up against “Total Transportation” and driver John Wayne Johnson, which were somewhere high in the millions. “Total Transportation” has already paid 14 million dollars to one of the plaintiffs. According to a report published in “Savannah Morning News”, the general prosecutor of the judicial circuit in Atlanta, Georgia decided not to pursue criminal charges against “Total Transportation and Johnson”. Both the company and driver were accused of multiple vehicular homicides and negligence charges. Prosecutors decided not to pursue criminal charges against “Total Transportation and Johnson” after accepting the $200,000 investment from “Total Transportation” to create a nonprofit group providing financial assistance to medical students.
During the civil suits that crash victims’ relatives had filed against “Total Transportation and Johnson,” it was revealed the company still hired Johnson even after stating in his job application he was fired from his previous driving job for falling asleep while he was operating a truck. This case has cost “Total Transportation” more than $14 million, excluding the millions of other civil claims. All these millions in damage was caused by one accident and one driver, which changed the lives of the people and companies involved forever.
As always, at “The Defender of Truckers” office we are always available to assist you. Call us if you ever have any questions: (800) 970-5530