SHIPPING CONTAINER DETACHES FROM TRACTOR TRAILER, LEAVING ONE DEAD

An accident occurred recently on Route 3 in Rutherford involving a tractor trailer which left one man dead. While traveling under the overpass at Orient Way, a tractor-trailer holding a shipping container hit the overpass with the container. This action pushed the container off of the flat bed of the truck, which spun 360 degrees before crashing into the Honda Civic driven by James Hart III, 39, of Bronxville, NY. The container, empty at the time, pinned the car against the wall beneath the overpass. The container's instability made it difficult for emergency personnel to reach Hart, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident, occurring at 2:30 p.m., resulted in closure of Route 3 until 9:00 p.m. that evening.

While an investigation into the causes of the crash are ongoing, preliminary reports say that the driver of the tractor-trailer, Ali Mutakabbi, of Clifton, had underestimated the height of his truck. While the overpass clearance was 14 feet, investigators believe that Mutakabbi's truck was about eight inches higher than the overpass, and that the relatively small distance was sufficient to cause the container to be pushed off the bed.

Many New Jersey state and federal laws apply to commercial trucking, including rules requiring a driver to know the dimensions of the truck and trailer, how cargo in a truck should be loaded, how containers are attached to flat beds, and height limits on tractor-trailers. In the state of New Jersey, unless a truck has a special permit, it may not exceed 13 feet, 6 inches. Authorities have stated that they will be issuing multiple summonses to Mutakabbi for violations of motor vehicle and equipment codes, though they do not anticipate filing any more serious charges against the truck driver.

Tractor trailer accidents have the potential to do extraordinary amounts of damage, and claims can be more complex than car accident claims, based in part on the volume of regulations covering the commercial trucking industry. If you or someone in your family has been the victim of a semi or tractor-trailer accident, contact Smith & Doran for a free evaluation of your case. Our knowledgeable attorneys can determine whether you should sue to ensure you're fully compensated for your injuries. Contact us from throughout the Morristown area, including Mendham, Bernardsville, Whippany, and beyond, at 973-292-0016.

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