Despite how large and powerful a semi truck obviously is, some people don’t seem to “get” the force that a truck that size can generate. Perhaps because people drive safely by them all the time, the imminent deadliness of such a vehicle just doesn’t register in most cases.
We have an unfortunate reminder in a recent, horrifying and tragic case just east of Reno, Nevada.
According to investigators and witnesses, a large semi truck struck the side of an Amtrak train. The impact partially derailed the train, killed the driver of the semi and also killed an Amtrak conductor and several passengers. A fire that was started as a result of the impact gutted several cars of the train, making rescue personnel cautious about sending in further workers to what was obviously a dangerous situation.
At first, this seems like something only Hollywood could do — a semi truck was able to strike and derail a train by colliding with it, killing several people inside the train. But that’s the kind of power a semi truck can generate, and if it can do that much to a train, what chance does a much smaller vehicle like a passenger car or even a smaller truck have?
Police at the scene said that the presence of tire skid marks on the road leading up to the crossing indicates the driver of the truck did try to stop his vehicle, but obviously was unable to. They have said that further analysis of the tracks will give them some evidence as to just how fast the driver of the truck was going leading up to the impact.
The crossing gates and lights on the intersection of the tracks and the road were working at the time. The driver of the truck plowed right through the gates before impacting the side of the train. Investigations are expected to focus on the driver, the remains of the vehicle and just what lead him to lose control of his truck.