A New Jersey police officer and Marine Corps veteran was killed this week when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer. The truck reportedly made no effort to stop before rear-ending the parked police vehicle on the shoulder of Route 17 in the early morning hours. The officer was operating radar, looking to catch speeders, on the side of the road. The 32-year-old officer was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The driver of the truck is being charged with vehicular homicide. He was not harmed in the accident and called 911 after colliding with the unmarked police car. It is not clear at this time what caused the truck to veer off the road or why the driver seemingly made no effort to slow down or swerve.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than one-quarter of all accidents are rear-end collisions. Run-off-road accidents account for 23 percent of accidents. Lane change accidents make up an additional 9 percent of highway accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board has advocated for making collision avoidance devices and electronic stability control systems mandatory for commercial trucks to combat the problem. Such devices would give a warning to a fatigued driver before a collision occurred. It is not clear if such a device could have prevented this tragedy, but they do have the potential to prevent many types of truck collisions.
More can be done to make the interstate trucking industry safer. More needs to be done to reduce the deadly accidents caused by tractor trailers all around the country.
Source: The Grand Island Independent, "New Jersey police officer dies in rear-end crash" 17 July 2014