When a new stretch of the Bay Bridge opened in San Francisco last year, the California Department of Transportation posted signs warning drivers about an upcoming sharp curve and announcing a 10 m.p.h. drop in the speed limit. Now the family of a deceased truck driver is suing, claiming the signs weren’t enough.
On Nov. 9, 2009, Tahir Fakhar was driving a tractor trailer along the bridge’s new S-curve when he lost control of the truck. It rolled over a 3-foot guardrail and fell about 200 feet to an island below. Fakhar was killed.
Now, an attorney for the truck driver’s family has filed a claim with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, a precursor to a wrongful death lawsuit.
The claim alleges the S-curve was “negligently designed and regulated.”
After the truck crash, Caltrans added additional speed warnings, flashing signs, a higher roadside barrier, rumble strips and clearer lane striping.
The lawyer for Fakhar’s family says that work should have been done previously.
Caltrans officials say the speed of Fakhar’s truck, 10 m.p.h. over the legal limit, was the problem, not the design or markings of the roadway.
While it may be difficult to assign fault in this case without more information, the story does raise a general safety question.
After you make safety rules (like a speed limit), train workers (such as preparing and licensing them to drive a tractor trailer), and post warning reminders (like speed limit signs), at what point does the responsibility for a worker’s safety shift from the company to the worker? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.