A tragic accident happened on S.R. 37 south of Bloomington Tuesday evening. An older woman was killed and her grandaughter was seriously injured when a semi-truck heading south-bound on S.R. 37 could not stop in time when the traffic control signal turned from green to yellow at the intersection of S.R. 37 and S.R. 54/58 near Avoca. The accident investigation is being overseen by Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig.
The semi driver, Robert Shields, 20, Salem, was not injured, Craig said. Police issued Shields a ticket for driving the truck without a commercial endorsement on his license.
According to the news reports, the driver of the truck admitted to traveling 59 mph in a 55 mph zone when the light changed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, oversees the trucking industry and promulgates rules and regulations to try and make our highways safer. One of the things the FMCSA does is to promote minimum federal standards for all the State Licensing of Commercial Drivers Licenses, or CDLs. According to the FMCSA’s website:
“Drivers have been required to have a CDL in order to drive a CMV since April 1, 1992.”
Everyone knows that the odds of being seriously injured or killed go way up when a person is involved in an accident with a semi tractor-trailer. The purpose of these federal requirements for CDL licensing is to try to make sure that there are uniform minimum safety requirements across the country that truck drivers (and the companies they work for) have to meet before getting behind the wheel of a large truck. Obviously, the better trained and qualified a truck driver is, the less likely he or she is going to be to cause an accident. Unfortunately, in this instance, the rules weren’t followed and it appears that an unqualified driver was behind the wheel of the semi that was involved in this fatal crash.