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A tractor-trailer carrying cows to a slaughterhouse slammed into an SUV on U.S. 421 outside of the town of Lillington, North Carolina (NC), just before midnight on March 7, 2010. Both the driver of the truck and the driver of the sports utility vehicle suffered injuries requiring hospital treatment. Thirty-five of the 46 cows died when the tractor-trailer slid down an embankment and tipped over.

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Police responding to the accident charged the livestock truck’s driver with failure to slow down when approaching another vehicle. The SUV driver was also cited for not wearing a seat belt.

The incident, while somewhat tragically comical since it involved the untimely death of cows slated to be killed shortly anyway and neither driver died, illustrates serious risks faced by all who travel the roads and highways of North Carolina and the other states.

Truck crashes occurring at night killed more than 1,200 drivers and passengers in the United States during 2008. Some 10 percent of those fatal truck and car accident happened because the truck driver was speeding, following too closely or failed to yield the right of way. Semis, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers and other large trucks can easily cause terrible damage simply because they are so large, heavy and difficult to stop or control when driving conditions change suddenly.

In November 2009, a Suffolk, Virginia (VA) woman lost her life when she crashed into a Smithfield Foods livestock truck. The woman’s children also suffered critical injuries. More recently, on Feb. 9, 2010, the driver of a pickup truck died after running into a jackknifed tractor-trailer carrying sheep, cows, pigs and goats on U.S. 27 near Weston, Florida (FL).

I am glad that last Sunday’s accident south of Raleigh was nowhere near as serious. However, since the livestock truck driver was reported to be primarily at fault in the incident, the SUV driver could have a case for making a claim against the commercial driver’s insurance or the trucking company. Regardless, I wish both men speedy recoveries from their injuries.


About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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