The logging truck, quite simply, had been massively overloaded.
It wasn’t the first time this trucking company—and this trucker—had been caught overloading their trucks.
But one day, on a scenic road in the Olympic Peninsula, the overloaded logging truck lost its cargo.
The logs fell off the trailer, and struck a car. A University of Washington professor and his passenger suffered tragic deaths.
As noted above, this was not the first time this trucking company—and this trucker—had been caught overloading their trucks. Both the company and the driver had been cited for multiple violations: but they were still on the road.
This was a terrible crash, and a devastating loss for so many people.
Tragedy leads to change
After this fatal crash, Rep. Ruth Kagi of Shoreline, Washington—with the efforts of the professor’s surviving wife—sponsored the passage of a bill. It added to the number of commercial trucks in Washington State that can be tracked for safety violations.
That bill became a Washington law that expanded safety tracking to include garbage trucks, in-state charter buses and vehicles registered by the Utilities and Transportation Commission.
A summary of the law closing the trucking safety loophole
- Authorizes the Washington State Patrol to take trucks with safety violations off the road until violations have been corrected.
- Increases penalties for commercial vehicle safety violations.
- Allows the Washington State Patrol to use data-driven analysis to prioritize motor carriers for inspection and compliance reviews.
- Requires certain in-state motor carriers to have United States Department of Transportation (DOT) numbers.
- Increases trip permit fees by $5: the additional amount is dedicated to commercial vehicle inspections.
- Increases the registration fee for vehicles subject to highway inspections and terminal audits form $10 to $16.
This law, and other litigation on behalf of trucking accident victims, is making Washington roads and highways safer.
It is helpful to remember that real, positive change can come from terrible tragedy.
I was honored to represent the Qamar family in bringing accountability and responsibility for this tragedy. The case: Qamar v. Leonard Trucking, Inc.: $1,850,000.00 (maximum result – policy limits)