Lincoln Tunnel Crash Raises Questions about Big Rig Safety

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truck on highwayAn overturned tractor trailer on the Lincoln Tunnel Helix recently caused major delays for commuters, but fortunately, no injuries were reported with the crash.

However, the driver was issued two summonses related to the crash, raising questions once again about the need to impose tighter regulations on the trucking industry.

Lanes closed, delays reported

The truck accident occurred around 5:40 a.m. on June 15, according to local media reports. The tractor trailer overturned on the helix, resting somewhat precariously on the concrete barrier. All westbound lanes to the tunnel were closed following the crash, with only buses from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to get through. All other vehicles were rerouted to the Holland Tunnel or the George Washington Bridge.

A heavy-duty wrecker arrived on the crash scene around 6:30 a.m. However, the westbound lanes were not reopened until 11:40 a.m., resulting in serious delays for commuters into the city that morning. Even the buses that were allowed to get through reported delays ranging from 60-90 minutes throughout the morning.

According to the Port Authority, the driver of the tractor trailer, Jose Morales de Morales of Astoria, Queens, was given two summonses for the crash. The first was for reckless driving, although no details were revealed. The second was for driving with a suspended license.

Consequences of big rig accidents

While no injuries were reported with this crash, other drivers in accidents involving tractor trailers have not been so lucky. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, 79 people were killed in large trucks crashes in 2014. Out of 50 driver fatalities, only four of those fatalities were the large truck drivers; the rest were drivers of other vehicles involved in the accidents. There were also 12 passengers and 17 pedestrians killed in those crashes.

Fatalities are not the only consequences of accidents involving large trucks. The same report also noted that there were more than 5,000 people that sustained non-fatal injuries as a result of these accidents. The large majority of those injured included drivers and passengers in other vehicles, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. Injuries could range from a few bumps and bruises to serious, debilitating injuries that could bring permanent changes to a person’s life.

In August 2015, the New York Times published an editorial titled, “The Trucks are Killing Us.” The point made in the opinion piece was that until regulations involving big rigs were tightened, the number of tragedies could continue to climb. Some of the recommendations in that article included the addition of appropriate safety technologies in all large trucks and shorter shifts for drivers of the vehicles.

The author of the article countered complaints that these changes would cost the trucking industry too much money– extra costs that would ultimately be passed to consumers. The author made note of the fact that the trucking industry generates $700 billion of revenue every year, suggesting the industry could indeed afford to make some changes in the interest of safety.

Involved in a truck accident? Get a free consultation

If you are the victim of a tractor trailer accident, you may be eligible for damages to compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other non-economic losses.

The personal injury lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh are highly experienced advocates in accidents involving commercial vehicles. Call us at 201-342-5545 for a free assessment of your case and answers to your legal questions.


  1. News 12, Crash Stalls Morning Commute on Lincoln Tunnel Helix,
  2. AM New York, Traffic Snarled at Lincoln Tunnel after Tractor Trailer Overturns, Port Authority Says,
  3. Newark Patch, Truck Overturns at Lincoln Tunnel,
  4., Major Delays Hit Commuters Coming into New York,
  5. New York Times, The Trucks are Killing Us,