Date: June 15, 2010
Location: I-84 near Baker City, Oregon
Names: Kenneth Norlund, Carl N. Myler, [Unknown]
Two traffic crashes on I-84 near Baker City, Oregon, closed the eastbound lanes for seven hours on June 15, 2010, and a West Haven, Utah woman was seriously injured in the second crash. In that crash, driver distraction contributed.
According to an OSP press release, the first crash occurred around 7 AM. Kenneth Norlund, 49, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was driving eastbound in a highway construction zone when the commercial truck he was driving, pulling two trailers, drifted to the right onto soft gravel and struck a guardrail. The side of the rear trailer split open and spilled its load of household furnishings and property. About 140 feet of the railing was damaged, and the crash blocked the eastbound lanes with the spilled contents of the trailer, damaged guardrail, and vehicles.
Traffic backed up behind this messy spill, and eventually, about two miles back in the backed-up traffic, a 1997 Buick LeSabre with two occupants was hit from behind by a commercial truck driven by Carl N. Myler, 30, of West Valley, Utah. The impact pushed the Buick forward into the back of a stopped semi-trailer.
The occupants of the Buick were not named, but a 69-year-old woman from West Haven, Utah, who was a passenger, received serious but non-life threatening injuries. She was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Baker City. Her husband, who was driving, was not hurt.
Myler, who was driving the truck that hit the Buick, was cited for Reckless Driving, and state police say driver distraction was a factor.
The eastbound lanes reopened around 2 PM. OSP troopers are finishing the investigations.
We would like to send our best wishes to the woman who was hurt in this crash. We hope you recover and are out of the hospital soon.
While many people associate distracted driving with cell phone use, it can result from many other factors. The NHTSA lists 14 types of distractions, only two of which involve phones.
Potential distractions for drivers include: passengers, especially children; moving objects in the vehicle; adjusting the temperature, radio, cassette, or CD player; using various devices; and eating or drinking. Handheld mobile phone use, however may be more dangerous than some other activities, with the agency terming cell phone use a “moderate” or “complex” secondary task, as opposed to simpler ones.
In NHTSA’s 2009 study, the agency reached the following conclusions:
- Driver distraction was a factor in 16% of all fatal crashes in 2008, and in 22% of injury crashes.
- In crashes where driver error was a primary factor, 18% involved distraction.
- Distraction also contributed to close calls, factoring into almost a quarter of crashes and near-crashes.
Shulman DuBois LLC represents victims with injuries resulting from accidents. Our clients deserve representation with our experience, sensitivity and tenacity. Should an unfortunate episode find you or someone you know in need of representation as a result of an Oregon auto accident related injury, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated by reading our Frequently Asked Questions, exploring our Library, or ordering your free copy of 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case. If you still have questions, contact us.