December 21, 2016 – A big rig fell off a Houston 59 ramp and killed at least one person this morning. The 18-wheeler crash and fire slowed traffic both north and south on the 59 Eastex Freeway. At 7 a.m., TranStar cameras showed flames shooting from the toppled big rig on the side of the freeway’s northbound lanes at the 610 North Loop.
KHOU reported that all northbound main lanes of 59 remained shut down at 9 a.m. Traffic was being forced onto the loop eastbound. Only one southbound lane of 59 was getting by, with significant delays, inbound from Humble and Kingwood.
Truck falls on Car
Police at the scene said they believed the 18-wheeler fell off an elevated ramp onto the lanes below, then burst into flames. Firefighters said another car was also involved in the incident. The truck is believed to have fallen on or in front of that other car and killed at least one person.
Officials said the 59 freeway will probably not reopen until sometime in the afternoon.
Truckers often not at fault in crashes
Truck drivers are often automatically blamed in such crashes, but often they are not the ones most at fault. Companies frequently push truck drivers too hard for too many hours, and pay them too little for their trouble, making their work lives dangerous for all of us.
OTR Truckers often Overworked
In the spirit of the holidays and our shared responsibilities to watch out for one another, it is important to remember that OTR truckers perform a task as vital to our lives as food and water. In fact, most of us would not have food and water were it not for 18-wheeler drivers trucking these life essentials to our neighborhoods. In point of fact, the comfortable living most of usually take for granted would not even be possible without truckers. The food we eat, the fuel that heats and cools our homes, the wood and steel that builds them, the clothes we wear – nearly our entire lives are dependent on those driving 18-wheelers.
Dangers of Tired and Overworked Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are, unfortunately, often expected to drive too far in too short a time. Many trucking companies pay drivers by the mile rather than by the hour, putting added pressure on truckers to overwork themselves. Under certain circumstances, this type of compensation might arguably be seen as a company’s negligent encouragement of an employee’s speeding, driving without proper rests or breaks, driving while fatigued. This can create treacherous conditions for the driver as well as everyone else risking their lives on the same roads.
We mourn the tragic loss of another human life this morning on Houston’s busy highways, and we pray for the safety of our truckers and all the rest of us driving this holiday season.