Since Dec. 2015, five big rig accidents have happened at the same interchange on California’s Fremont highway. The most recent accident occurred on Aug. 3, when a dump truck carrying gravel rolled over, crushed part of a sedan, and spilled gravel across the scene. Just north of Interstate 680, the truck exited the southbound lane and tried to turn right onto Mission Boulevard to head north, but instead crossed the raised median and turned over.
In this case, both the driver of the truck and the driver of the sedan suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Oftentimes, those involved in these accidents aren’t quite as fortunate. Approximately 500,000 big rig accidents happen each year, and the deaths from these accidents make up 10% of all traffic-related deaths.
Drivers are Demanding Change
The drivers on Fremont highway are unfortunately accustomed to these accidents, the frustrating gridlocks and slow-moving traffic they cause. The Facebook comments on the Fremont Police Department’s page point out the frequency of crashes that occur at that same spot on the highway from year to year. Some even include a call to action on the part of the town. “This happened to a different gravel truck only a few months ago at that same location. Maybe they need to work on the intersection to make it safer,” wrote Heather Wallace on the department’s post about the latest accident.
Wallace is referring to an accident involving a big rig carrying tons of dirt that overturned at the exact same spot on Aug. 31, 2017. In that car accident, one of the big rig’s trailers was flung across the southbound lanes and smashed into a fence, slowing traffic in all directions.
How the City is Attempting to Make the Intersection Safer
The city of Fremont is taking immediate steps to discuss solutions. They held a meeting on Sept. 5 with the California Department of Transportation to discuss the problematic interchange. The solutions that will likely be implemented are more signage and rumble strips that clearly indicate a risky turn is coming up.
The risk partially comes from the steady downward slope the ramp off of Interstate 680 takes. At the bottom of the ramp, drivers going straight or turning left on Mission Boulevard must stop at a signal, but those turning right have a dedicated merge lane and are not required to stop. When trucks with a high center of gravity take this turn at high speeds, they risk toppling over, thereby getting police and accident attorneys involved.
As of now, the recent accidents are not only marked by hefty hospital bills and the need for accident attorneys, but also the physical remnants on the side of Mission Boulevard. Along the road’s curve and near the median, trucks have sliced into and gouged the pavement as they toppled over. Oil stains from engines in prior accidents splash across the road. Gravel, dirt, lug nuts, and glass are strewn in the median near the ramp, serving as visible reminders of the destruction caused by one small, unsafe section of highway.
If you have been injured because of an unsafe section of road or highway contact the car accident attornies at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP today for a free legal consultation.