ST. GEORGE – Two days in a row, semis and cars collided on Bluff Street at 500 N in St. George. Lessons may be learned from these accidents.
This afternoon, around 12:15 p.m. a semi-tanker was traveling southbound on Bluff Street, approaching 500 N. When the light cycled to yellow the vehicle in front of the semi slammed on its brakes to stop instead of proceeding through on the yellow.
Sgt. Craig Harding of the St. George Police Department said that the semi hit the car and pushed it into the intersection.
“The officer told me that all of the people in the car were transported to the hospital,” Harding said. “They did not have to cut them out. Even if they’re walking they put them on a stretcher so it doesn’t mean they can’t walk. It’s a protocol they take in case they have a spinal injury, it doesn’t mean they have a broken neck or back.”
Harding also said the responding officer told him they didn’t have to cut anyone out of the car. The car was rolling, meaning they were able to roll it out of the road, the trunk was crunched but the collision did not reach the passenger area.
Harding said that the city code provides that a driver of a vehicle may not operate his vehicle in such a way as to collide with another vehicle; so if he does collide, he’s guilty of negligent collision. The driver of the semi was cited for negligent collision.
On Tuesday, a vehicle and a semi, pulling two trailers of hay bales, were both heading southbound on Bluff Street, approaching a red light. Harding said cars were backed up in the right hand lane, and the driver of the vehicle “punched it and got over in front of the semi and slammed to a stop.”
“So of course the semi hit him and pushed him into the intersection,” Harding said.
When the responding officer started to cite the vehicle driver for an unsafe lane change, Harding said the driver got upset and said, “I pulled in front of him, there was at least five or six feet between us.”
The officer on scene invited the offending driver, with the semi driver’s permission, to crawl up into the driver’s seat of the semi. Then the officer told him to call out to him when he could see a clipboard the officer would hold up as he walked from the front bumper of the semi forward. When the participant in the semi’s driver’s seat called out that he could see the clipboard, the officer invited him to come out of the semi and see the distance – it was over 20 feet, Harding said.
“The 20 feet is just an example of how far it takes for the driver of the semi to see the brake lights,” said Harding. “With semis, there are danger areas in front, behind, directly on both sides, never hang out in the blind spot, allow for turning movement for the trailer inside the tractor; you can’t expect to pull in front of a semi and expect them to be able to stop like a car, it takes them twice to three times as much distance to stop –for a semi truck going the same speed as a car – to stop.”
Weather and other factors may increase that distance.
“If you’re going to pull in front of a semi and slam on the brakes the lug nut rule wins,” Harding said, “the guy with the biggest lug nuts is the winner.”
Copyright 2012 St. George News.