A trucker involved in a multi-vehicle crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that killed five people and injured dozens nearly two years ago was wearing noise-canceling headphones during the horrific accident, victims claim in a lawsuit. The wrongful death and negligence suit, filed in mid-October in Philadelphia, alleges the headphones prevented the FedEx driver from hearing warnings that he was about to crash into a previous bus wreck near Mount Pleasant. The complaint includes a photograph of the driver wearing headphones in the cab of his truck.
The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report states the tragedy began about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2020, when the bus veered toward the median, swerved back across all travel lanes, hit an embankment, rolled onto its side, and stopped in the travel lanes about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. The FedEx tractor-trailer then hit the bus and was struck by a UPS truck.
Killed were two bus passengers, including a child, the bus driver, and the driver and co-driver of the UPS truck. Injuries included a broken neck, traumatic brain injury, and broken ribs.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs are the 18 victims or their next of kin. The 95-page complaint names as defendants Z&D Tour Inc., the bus operator based in Rockaway, New Jersey; Ohio Coach Inc.; Sioux Trucking Inc.; and FedEx Ground Package System Inc. In addition to damages, the suit asks FedEx to institute a policy to prevent its drivers from wearing headphones.
Silence as a distraction
When we think about driver distractions, some of them involve noise – listening to loud music, a voice on the phone, or talking to a passenger. The Pennsylvania tragedy proves silence is deadly, too. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation defines distracted driving, in part, as anything that interferes with a motorist’s attention. Not being able to hear warnings about a crash would seem to qualify, just like if noise-canceling headphones prevented a driver from hearing the sirens of emergency vehicles. It’s not much different than being distracted by:
- Adjusting music controls
- Talking, texting, or emailing on a phone
- Searching for something in the vehicle
- Reading or writing
- Personal grooming
- Rubbernecking at a crash scene
- Looking at people or objects off the road
The laws can be distracting too
If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a careless trucker, you may have suffered extensive injuries. You might be unable to support your family as the bills pile up. The trucker is not going to admit any responsibility for the crash and instead likely will blame you. Insurance legalities further complicate your case because multiple companies can be involved representing the 18-wheeler, driver, cargo, truck manufacturer, and anyone else who may have been involved in the crash. They may work together against you. Or one of them, well aware that you need money, will pressure you to sign off on a lowball financial settlement.
At The Hanamirian Firm, PC, we pride ourselves on customizing our legal strategy to fit your particular case in Philadelphia. We independently investigate your case and keep you informed every step of the way. We know how to build strong cases and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.