• April 29, 2022

Two Injured in 18-Wheeler Accident at Hilltop Fill Stop in Cass County, NE

Cass County, NE -- April 25, 2022, two people were injured in a collision between tractor-trailers on U.S. Highway 75 in Cass County.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 11:00 a.m. at the Hilltop Fill Stop along US-75 near Weeping Water. Preliminary investigation suggests a northbound semi-truck slowed down to turn into the truck stop when a second northbound 18-wheeler crashed into it. After the impact one of the trucks caught fire.

The driver of the striking truck was transported to a Lincoln hospital. The operator of the turning truck that was hit was treated at the scene.

Investigators believe driver fatigue may have been a factor in the collision.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Truck Accident at Hilltop Fill Stop in Cass County

It always stands out to me when reports say fatigue caused a commercial truck wreck. If police are right about that some may feel it makes sense just to pin the blame on the driver for dangerous behavior and move on. However, when a professional truck driver is too tired to operate safely I've learned it's important to find out exactly why.

Two Injured in 18-Wheeler Accident at Hilltop Fill Stop in Cass County, NE

Here's why I say that: I worked on a crash not too long ago where a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and caused the wreck. Investigators found he'd been awake at the wheel for 20 straight hours without so much as a restroom break.

Clearly that's reckless behavior, and also it's an illegal violation of service hours for a professional driver. So why did the driver do something like that? We learned his employer expected him and his fellow drivers to meet absurdly-tight deadlines. The company routinely gave the drivers outrageous delivery schedules, pressuring them to speed and cut corners to meet them. The drivers were expected to prioritize the timeframes over safe operation or else risk losing their jobs. With a choice between ethics and putting food on the table, many drivers bit the bullet and complied. It was almost inevitable that disaster would follow.

I'm not saying some shady corporate practices led to the wreck in Cass County. I only mean that crashes like this one aren't always just due to someone poorly managing their sleep cycles. That's why crashes like this warrant thorough investigations even when it seems like there may not be much more to discuss. Will steps be taken here to consider such possibilities?

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