Texas “Super Lawyer” Calls Out Truckers in the Wake of Horrific Fort Worth Pileup
Fort Worth, TX – A prominent Texas lawyer specializing in big truck accidents says truckers could have prevented the deadly 135-vehicle pileup last week along an icy Fort Worth interstate.
Steve Laird has been an attorney for over 35 years and has been named to the top 100 “Texas Super Lawyers” list by Thomson Reuters.
In a release from Laird’s office on Monday, the experienced personal injury lawyer voiced his opinion about the role truckers played in the horrific pileup along I-35W that resulted in the deaths of six people and injury to dozens more.
“Unlike other motorists, professional truck drivers are trained to manage hazardous road conditions,” Laird said. “They should use their extensive training and experience in handling and making decisions about driving an 80,000-pound truck into or during such weather-related events.”
Additionally, Laird asserted the truckers involved, as well as the motor carriers, have the tools to avoid such situations and implied they should have known better.
“Truckers often have electronics that allow them to get detailed weather information from other truck drivers, as well as direct communications from their dispatchers about road conditions,” he commented. “They also are equipped with additional resources beyond radio traffic and weather reports.”
Unforgettably haunting videos from the accident, which have continued to circulate on social media, show more than a dozen big rigs in the mangled wreckage.
Multiple tractor-trailers were observed barreling into other big rigs and passenger vehicles in what was a surreal scene.
The long-time Fort Worth attorney placed the highest burden of responsibility for the crash on these truckers.
“Federal Trucking Safety Regulations require 18-wheeler drivers to use ‘extreme caution’ in ‘hazardous conditions,’ including reduced speeds and even parking when conditions are too dangerous to continue,” said Laird. “These safety rules are for the protection of the traveling public, including the truck drivers themselves.”
Truckers Weigh In On Blame Game
Tracy Kendrick has been a professional trucker for more than twenty years and has driven through the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area many times.
In an interview with Transportation Nation Network (TNN), Kendrick argued the crash was “100% avoidable.”
“The truck drivers are to blame,” Kendrick asserted. “You can’t put all the blame on them, but they are professional drivers. They knew the roads were icy. They were driving too fast for the road conditions.”
As for the road conditions, truck driver Ryan Chaney took to social media following the crash and blamed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“They had plenty of fair warning,” Chaney said during a Facebook LIVE video. “Instead of waiting until the night before they decided to spread sand two days before and it was dry, so when you drive over sand it blows away. So, it was basically ineffective.”
Shortly following the accident, TxDOT released a statement claiming it took “proactive” measures.
“TxDOT undertakes proactive, advance measures such as pretreating its roads, which can help prevent ice from sticking to the roadway,” TxDOT stated. “Conditions on roadways can change rapidly, and unfortunately, even with proactive measures the unpredictable and fast-changing severe Texas weather can still result in some ice accumulating.”
“I don’t know why Texas doesn’t use salt, but hopefully after today they learn to use salt. A lot of people died and were injured today and now they have to clean up the mess. I hope someone holds them responsible for what happened. I know I wish I could,” Chaney lamented.
Like Chaney, Kendrick also asserted TxDOT failed in its duties.
“It happens every year from the DFW area all the way up to Amarillo. They know there is going to be an ice storm and they don’t prepare for it,” he commented.
Fort Worth authorities indicated speed and road conditions were factors in the crash.
However, the investigation is ongoing and expected to take some time to complete.
TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor new developments.