With the major ice storm that has caused hundreds of crashes here this week, you may have forgotten the massive Fort Worth collisions two years ago. A staggering 133 cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles collided on Interstate 35 on another icy day.
Six people lost their lives and at least 65 people were injured on February 11, 2021.
We wrote about the catastrophic collisions that were the most serious in the history of Fort Worth:
Massive Fort Worth collisions cause six deaths and multiple injuries
Texas wrongful death lawsuits filed after Fort Worth crashes and winter storm
What have we learned since then?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just released several thousand pages from its investigation. However, it has still not yet reached any conclusions about which drivers and parties were to blame and how another crash like this can be prevented.
The documents did reveal important details about how the collisions allegedly occurred:
- The North Tarrant Express (NTE) Mobility Partners, the consortium of companies that planned, built, and maintains the highway, said that the interstate had been pretreated with a salt or brine solution two days before the crashes.
- However, very little training was given to NTE employees and the agency was short-staffed. Further, NTE only had three maintenance vehicles to use, but afterward added six vehicles and 18 weather sensors.
- The lanes were designed with virtually no shoulder space and few exits so oncoming vehicles had nowhere to go in an emergency.
- At 3:00 a.m. that morning, police responded to a vehicle crash nearby on I-35. An officer reported this information to NTE. Parts of the highway were only spot treated after that notice. NTE activated warning signs by 3:40 a.m.
- Just before the crashes happened at 6:00 a.m., the average speed in the left lane was 82 MPH and drivers were going as fast as 103 MPH, according to NTE. However, these speeds are disputed. The speed limit is 75.
- First responders said they slipped and fell when they got out of their vehicles and did not see any sand on the highway.
What happens next?
The final report detailing the causes of these crashes and making recommendations for public safety will be released this spring.
Lawsuits asserting damages on behalf of the survivors of the deceased victims and the injured people are working their way through the courts. The negligence of the NTE, the drivers, the companies which owned the 18-wheelers that plowed into stopped cars, and the State of Texas will be scrutinized. Texas courts employ a system called comparative negligence.
The dangers of driving on winter roads
Please be extremely cautious if you drive this week on our icy highways and streets.
Call 888-801-8585 or click here for a free consultation if you have been injured in a Texas truck or 18-wheeler accident.
At Berenson Injury Law, we have over four decades of experience successfully representing people who have been injured in car, truck, and commercial vehicle/18-wheeler cases.