I-25 Colorado Pile-Up

Discussion in 'Traffic, Weather, and Road Conditions' started by Two Million Plus Miler, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Why do these trucking companies have their drivers out in these conditions of inclimate weather knowing the road conditions? Why? What load has to be delivered that commuters are killed or injured that would warrant the necessity of having to be out and operating in these adversities?

    Shame on Groendyke Transport, Inc.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    On their website, they say " Six-Time Heil Trophy Winner for best overall safety record and program in the country.
    Funny how the video shows different. Talk about a Truck-B-B-Q. . ..fools!!!!!!!

    http://www.examiner.com/video/fiery...orado-during-snowstorm-causes-massive-pile-up

    I hope the family of the injured driver sues your operations and your management. If any dispatcher or fleet manager threatened this driver to operate and the driver was reluctant to drive and operate out of fear of losing his/her job, those in their operations should all be fired and sued.

    I'm sick and tired of trucking companies pushing and threatening their drivers to the brink of death and putting their drivers in dangers way all because of monetary market pressures when the loads aren't that important.

    No life is worth the loss over a commodity that can wait because of dangerous road conditions.

    Shame shame shame. . ..
  2. http://www.anapolschwartz.com/pa-truck-accident/staa.asp

    What is the Surface Transportation Assistance Act? (STAA)

    Published: October 8, 2007

    Effective in 1983, STAA was enacted to encourage employee reporting of noncompliance with safety regulations governing commercial motor vehicles (trucks). Congress recognized that employees in the transportation/trucking industry are often best able to detect safety violations and yet, because they may be threatened with discharge for cooperating with enforcement agencies, they need express protection against retaliation for reporting these violations.
    Section 405 protects employee whistle-blowers by forbidding discharge, discipline, or other forms of discrimination by the employer in response to an employee's complaining about or refusing to operate motor vehicles that do not meet the applicable safety standards such as bad weather conditions or cargo loading.
    Truck drivers, who believe they have suffered retaliation for reporting violations, refusing to commit violations, or participating in proceedings, can seek relief from the U.S. Department of Labor. Under STAA, truck drivers who believe they have suffered an adverse employment action (such as discharge, demotion, discipline, or denial of advancement), have 180 days to file a simple written complaint with OSHA.
    The complaint can be postmarked or faxed to meet the deadline. If OSHA determines that a violation did occur, it can issue a preliminary order requiring reinstatement during further proceedings. Both sides will have an opportunity to present their evidence in a recorded hearing before an administrative law judge whose decision is reviewed by the Administrative Review Board, and parties can appeal to federal courts of appeals.
    Congress also recognized that the employee's protection against having to choose between operating an unsafe vehicle and losing his job would lack practical effectiveness if the employee could not be reinstated pending complete review. The longer a discharged employee remains unemployed, the more devastating are the consequences to his personal financial condition and prospects for reemployment.
  3. “The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (known as the STAA) prohibits an employer from disciplining or firing a commercial driver because that driver refuses to drive a commercial motor vehicle on the highways in violation of Federal safety regulations. The STAA also prohibits an employer from disciplining or firing a commercial driver because that driver refuses to operate a commercial vehicle when he has a “reasonable apprehension” of serious injury to himself or the public because of the vehicle’s unsafe condition.”

    http://www.tdu.org/resources/your-rights-under-staa-refusing-drive-under-bad-weather
  4. Your Rights Under the STAA: Refusing to Drive Under Bad Weather
    Winter is now in full swing and truck drivers will face snow-covered, icy roads throughout the Plains, the Northeast and the West. At times, they will face the decision of whether or not it is safe to drive. Of course, the driver’s decision may differ from his dispatcher’s decision. When this conflict arises it is generally the driver’s decision that will legally control who is right and who is wrong.
    The United States Code of Federal Regulations [49 C.F.R. §392.14] provides in pertinent part as follows:
    Hazardous conditions; extreme caution. Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.
    This regulation does not provide a clear test for when a driver shall discontinue operations due to bad weather.
    The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (known as the STAA) prohibits an employer from disciplining or firing a commercial driver because that driver refuses to drive a commercial motor vehicle on the highways in violation of Federal safety regulations. The STAA also prohibits an employer from disciplining or firing a commercial driver because that driver refuses to operate a commercial vehicle when he has a “reasonable apprehension” of serious injury to himself or the public because of the vehicle’s unsafe condition.
    When a driver claims that he has been wrongfully disciplined or fired in violation of the STAA, his case may be heard by officials of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL has decided only a handful of cases where a driver has been fired for refusing to drive due to bad weather.
    In Cleary v. Flint Ink, Corp. (1996), a driver refused a dispatch scheduled to depart at midnight. On the morning of his scheduled departure, the driver saw the beginnings of a major snowstorm. He watched a televised weather report predicting heavy snowfall for the area of his scheduled run. The driver telephoned his supervisor at 8:15 a.m. and asked to have his run postponed. Not surprisingly the supervisor told the driver he could not delay his run, but gave him the option to leave immediately. The driver refused and reiterated his refusal to leave at midnight. Ultimately the driver was fired for his refusal to drive.
    The Secretary of Labor upheld the firing. While acknowledging that a driver is protected when he refuses to drive due to adverse weather conditions, the Secretary found that the driver’s refusal to drive in the Cleary case was not reasonable under the circumstances. In ruling for the employer the Secretary of Labor stated:
    “Given the evidence presented and the changing nature of the weather it was not reasonable to assume that the roads would be unnavigable 16 hours after [the driver’s] decision not to drive. Cleary should have waited until later in the day to observe the progress of the storm and make his decision based upon the most recent information available.”
    In the case of Robinson v. Duff Truck Line, Inc. (1993), a motor carrier fired a driver because the driver did not even attempt to drive in what he claimed was bad weather. The carrier argued that the language in the regulations that says “the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued” when weather is sufficiently hazardous meant that the driver must at least start a run before refusing to drive due to hazardous weather.
    The driver, Robinson, testified that television stations issued weather warnings advising against driving on the highways which were on his route due to icy conditions. Based on this he refused to drive and the carrier fired him.
    The Secretary of Labor rejected the carrier’s argument that a driver must at least begin his run before he can refuse to drive due to bad weather, stating that it would create an absurd situation of drivers being compelled to take their vehicles at least out of the terminal gate.
  5. Sleet, Rain and Snow
    Eash v. Roadway Express, Inc. (2001) was a case before the U. S. Department of Labor wherein the employee, Larry Eash, refused a dispatch based on inclement weather. Eash was assigned to a bid between Copley,Ohio and Pittsburgh. When Eash woke on Jan. 14, 1999, he saw sleet and rain mixed with snow outside his home. Weather reports on the local radio station indicated that freezing rain was moving east toward Wooster,Ohio. A television news report indicated that driving was dangerous in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Eash observed freezing rain outside his home. He continued to monitor television and radio weather reports which advised against travel due to snow and freezing rain.
    Several times during the day that Eash was scheduled to work, he called the employer and attempted to be relieved of his work responsibilities due to bad weather. Eash advised the persons that he spoke with that he believed the weather conditions made driving dangerous. His employer ignored his requests to be relieved from work until the inclement weather conditions cleared.
    Eash left his home in his personal vehicle and began the 20-plus mile drive to Roadway’s terminal at Copley,Ohio. As he attempted to drive to work, freezing rain accumulated on his windshield, window glass and outside mirrors; he could barely see the road ahead of him because of the accumulated ice on the windshield. He could not view the side mirrors on his car because of the accumulated ice, and lost control of his vehicle at one point after driving about six miles from home.
    He then called Roadway and told the dispatcher on duty that he was not going to report to work because driving conditions were dangerous. Roadway issued a “Letter of Warning” to Eash for his “Failure to report to work after accepting a work call on 1/14/99 at 19:55.”
    An Administrative Law Judge of the DOL found that Eash “failed to establish that the type of weather conditions existed that would have made it unsafe to operate a commercial motor vehicle on Jan. 14, 1999.” However, the Judge found that Roadway had illegally disciplined Eash because “a reasonable person in [Eash’s] situation could have determined that a bona fide danger of accident or injury to his person existed and complainant had a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to himself or to the public because of the vehicles’ unsafe condition.” The judge ordered Roadway to remove from its files the warning letter that it issued to Eash.
    When You Can Refuse To Drive
    From these cases we can discern several rules about when a driver can refuse to drive due to adverse weather conditions.
    • A driver may refuse to start work if the weather is sufficiently hazardous at or near the time he is scheduled to begin as to make it unsafe to operate a commercial vehicle on the highways.
    • A driver cannot speculate unreasonably into the future regarding what the road conditions will be beyond a few hours.
    • A refusal to drive due to adverse road conditions must be reasonable. The refusal should be based on the driver’s personal observations, weather reports from the radio and television, calls to the Department of Transportation or Highway Patrol, if possible, and information received from other drivers if such information is available.
    • Additionally, the driver should be able to articulate for a Court the precise facts that led him to believe that it would have been unsafe for him to operate a commercial vehicle on the highways.
    Remedies
    If an employer illegally fires or disciplines a driver for refusing to drive a commercial vehicle in dangerous weather, the driver can seek relief under the STAA. A driver must file a complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 180 days after he receives notice of the illegal discipline. OSHA will investigate a complaint filed under the STAA and thereafter issue a decision. If any party objects within 30 days to OSHA’s decision, the case will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge for consideration. The STAA provides broad relief to an employee who is successful in proving that he was illegally disciplined or fired. A successful claimant is entitled to reinstatement, expungement of his work record, back pay, other damages, attorney fees and legal costs.
    Ultimately, the professional truck driver is the best judge of whether road conditions are so hazardous that he should not drive. He must act reasonably under the circumstances. If he acts reasonably in refusing a to drive due to dangerous weather conditions, and clearly conveys his reasons for refusing to drive to his employer, then the employer may not legally fire or discipline him for refusing to drive because of hazardous road conditions.
    Paul O. Taylor is an attorney with the Truckers Justice Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. He can be reached at 651-454-5800.
    Want to know more? Get the STAA Handbook from TDU
  6. Wintery weather snarls traffic as snow largely bypasses Greeley


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    JOSHUA POLSON/jpolson@greeleytribune.com Ian Spooner, 6, screams in joy as he flies through the snow down a hill next to 59th Avenue in west Greeley. According to the National Weather Service snow there is a slight chance of snow continuing into tomorrow.
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    JOSHUA POLSON/jpolson@greeleytribune.com Traffic slows down as they pass a car in the median U.S 34 near the intersection of 83rd Avenue Saturday morning. Snow, ice, and wind have made roads hazardous in areas along U.S 34.
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    JOSHUA POLSON/jpolson@greeleytribune.com A spring snowstorm covers the small buds on a tree at Glenmere Park. According to the National Weather Service temperatures are expected to stay below freezing throughout the weekend.
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    Photo courtesy: Channel 7/YouTube
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    (Photo courtesy: Eric Goody/7NEWS)
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    Photo courtesy: Channel 7/YouTube
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    Winter conditions returned to Weld County and the rest of the state Saturday, as wind, cold temperatures and some flurries impeded travel, kept emergency responders busy and contributed to a massive crash south of Weld.
    Although most of the snow bypassed the Greeley area, Joel Moreno, 43, who was outside shoveling the sidewalk in front of his home on 11th Avenue in central Greeley, said the return of the winter-like weather was unwelcome.
    “I’m done with it,” he said. “I’m ready for some warmer weather.”
    Forecasters expect the cold to stick around for a few days. High’s will stay near the low 30s until Tuesday, and more snow could fall tonight. Only about an inch of snow fell Friday night and Saturday in most parts of Weld; Johnstown reported 6.1 inches. Interstate 25 was closed near Johnstown for several hours after a large crash that involved as many as 50 vehicles, including four semitrailers, one of which burst into flames. The crash happened about 11 a.m. near mile marker 253, the Johnson’s Corner exit. Several people were taken to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland with injuries, but there were no fatalities, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
    The Red Cross responded to the area to assist stranded motorists and on-scene emergency personnel. Poor weather and driving conditions were considered the main factors for the crashes.
    In Weld, the sheriff’s office responded to numerous reports of slide-off wrecks, but no serious injuries.
    Paul Warner, who owns Auto Collision Towing, 2415 5th Ave. in Greeley, said the crashes kept him busy.
    “It didn’t start off until about 9 o’clock,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s when people started moving, or what?”
    He said the roads in the county were snowy and slippery.
    “I was out at 3 o’clock in the morning,” he said Saturday afternoon. “It was pretty icy, and I don’t think it improved any.”
    In Greeley, police were on accident alert for much of the day. During an accident alert, drivers involved in minor crashes are asked to exchange information and report it to police later. But things stayed pretty quiet most of the day, Greeley police Sgt. Bill West said.
    “I think people had enough warning, and it’s far enough into the season that they slowed down, so we have not had any issues with traffic accidents or anything like that.”
    Greeley resident Matt Durkan, 36, who was out fueling up his vehicle at a gas station on 11 Avenue near U.S. 34, said he hadn’t had problems getting around.
    “It’s not been too bad,” he said. “It’s a little rough here and there, where it drifted up.”
    Mike Baker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, said wind gusts reached between 20-30 mph, and snow drifts caused some problems.
    “Because temperatures stayed in the teens all day, it didn’t take much wind to blow the snow around,” he said. “A couple inches of snow still blew around pretty good from what our spotters were telling us.”
    Crews with the Colorado Department of Transportation used 73 snowplows to clear major roads in Denver and about 250 more along the rest of the Front Range. Another 30 plows cleared Interstate 70 from Denver to Vail.
    Meanwhile, DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery said about 106 flights were canceled, many of which involved commuter jets headed to nearby destinations or to mountain towns. The airport averages about 1,700 flights a day, with slightly fewer on the weekend.
    Baker said the heaviest snow fell on the eastern plains, where the small town of Agate saw more than 18 inches and snow drifts as high as five feet. The Denver metro area saw about 7-12 inches. He said he wasn’t surprised Greeley didn’t get much snow.
    “As of the last couple of days, it looked like we were going to have kind of a dry slot up there across portions of Larimer and Weld counties with that northerly wind coming out of Wyoming,” he said. “It’s not a very favorable wind direction.”
    Durkan said he was glad for this weekend’s storm and would like to see more powder before the season ends.
    “I like to snowboard,” he said. “The more snow, the better. Plus, that way it will be a nice green spring.”
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  7. Tazz

    Tazz Infidel Staff Member Supporter

    It is always the drivers call! Never ever let someone else turn the key on a truck your steering.
    Two Million Plus Miler and Mike like this.
  8. Mike

    Mike Friendly Admin :) Staff Member

    10-4

    Tankers are constantly trying to move in all different directions, some liquid loads are worse than others in terms if movement.

    Roads get really bad, I will park.
    Two Million Plus Miler and Tazz like this.
  9. blsqueak

    blsqueak Travelling Fool

    Was chatting with one of our drivers this morning in Denver, and he is parked. He was saying that he actually saw some drivers chain up just to get out of a spot that they were parked in. That would be my first clue, not moving.
  10. Tazz

    Tazz Infidel Staff Member Supporter

    Chains are for securing loads not roads;) Chains can be used to get through a small inclement situation( a hill with dry roads on the far side, short distance to cleared roads etc etc) and are not meant for all day operation.

    At least not in the lower 48.
  11. colohayhauler

    colohayhauler Clutch Monkey

    I live about an hour east of greeley, and its ridiculous how many pile ups and truck wrecks happen in these storms. Shouldn't be on the road anyway, and if they are, slow down!!
  12. I totally agree!!!!!!!
  13. You and ONLY you are the captain of the ship, and ONLY you can call the shots on safety....good reply!
  14. Injun

    Injun Psycho Squaw Staff Member Supporter

    I will chain up to get across a pass. The key is to slow down, feather the brakes and accelerator, don't make sudden moves, drive smoothly and leave lots of space between you and the guy in front of you.. Yes, I almost bit it this year, in freezing rain where there was water on top of ice. Snow, in and of itself, is not the most dangerous condition to drive in and it can be done safely. The problem, as with my situation earlier in the winter weather season, is usually overconfidence.

    Way too many times, I see people in cars and big trucks, following way to closely and driving way too aggressively.
  15. Mike

    Mike Friendly Admin :) Staff Member

    I will chain myself to the truck stop

    Maybe if the liquid in my tank was lighter and had baffled....

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