By: Leslie S. Harkavy
According to the Boston Globe, seven bikers were killed in Randolph, New Hampshire when a truck collided with them on Route 2. A 23 year old West Springfield resident is facing negligent homicide charges for his alleged role in the tragedy. He was operating a pickup truck towing a trailer when he allegedly crossed the double yellow line on a highway and collided with the group of motorcycle riders on route to a nearby veteran’s fundraiser.
The head of The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) resigned amid revelations that the truck driver accused of vehicular homicide was able to keep his commercial driver’s license despite a drunk driving arrest just the month before in May and history of other serious traffic violations. The RMV has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing the safe operation of vehicles. According to local news sources, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of motor vehicles regarding the May 11, 2019 incident. The driver allegedly has a long list of driving infractions going back to his teen years including a prior drunk driving arrest and prior roll over crash as well as failing a sobriety test in May 2019. The driver was an employee of a Massachusetts transportation company.
How did this driver still have a commercial driver’s license? How was this driver gainfully employed by a transportation company driving trucks on highways with this driving history?
This is a tragic story that could have been avoided. Seven lives lost leaving family and friends grieving and devastated. Why?
First, look at the driver, a 23 year old young man. If he crossed the double yellow line and struck these motorcyclists, he is no doubt responsible. But who else may be responsible? He should not have been behind the wheel of a truck and trailer given his driving history. The news points to the RMV for failing to do their job once notified about this incident that occurred the month before. He should never had possessed the commercial driver’s license that allowed him to be behind the wheel of the instrument that caused this tragedy. The RMV may have failed in their responsibility to have a system in place to keep this dangerous driver from operating a truck for work.
Who else may be responsible? No decent employer would have an unlicensed truck driver operate one of their trucks for business. We have not heard much about the employer in this incident. But what did the employer know about this driver’s history? Did the employer know about the prior roll over? The prior drunk driving charges? What did the employer do when deciding to hire this individual? Did the employer do a background check? Check references? Request the driving record of this individual? Run a CORI check for the criminal history of this employee?
These are some of the questions we ask when investigating the persons or businesses that may be held responsible for our client’s injuries. An employer cannot blindly hire an employee. An employer like a trucking company has a duty and responsibility to take reasonable steps to determine that the employee is a good hire and not a danger to the public. The employer also has a responsibility to train their employees and have safety measures in place to avoid foreseeable risks of harm. Many of these questions will be investigated and answered in this case to determine the individuals or entities responsible in this tragic case.
Ultimately, there may have been three chances here to avoid this tragic headline. All three individuals or entities- the driver, the RMV, the employer – had a duty, a responsibility, to exercise reasonable care to protect the public from harm. It may be that if just one of the three fulfilled their obligation to avoid foreseeable risk of harm and did the right thing according to the law, this tragedy may have been avoided.
The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help motorcycle victims and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from motor vehicle accidents.
If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a motorcycle accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact Nadeau Harkavy LLC for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.