• May 16, 2022

Brian Maples Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-635 in Dallas, TX

UPDATE (June 14, 2022): Reports have identified the victim of this accident as 45-year-old Brian "BJ" Maples.

Dallas, TX -- May 12, 2022, a 45-year-old man was fatally injured when his pickup crashed with an 18-wheeler on Interstate 635 in Dallas.

Authorities say the incident happened Thursday morning along I-635 near Hillcrest Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests a Ford F-450 utility pickup was in stop-and-go traffic along the eastbound interstate when it crashed into the back of a Freightliner 18-wheeler that was also caught in the congestion. Reports say the impact was severe enough that the pickup became wedged beneath the semi-trailer, which traveled roughly half a mile further east before coming to a full stop on the shoulder.

Fire and rescue teams extricated the driver but pronounced him dead at the scene. His passenger reportedly received minor injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Truck Accident on I-635 in Dallas

Many people misunderstand rear-end collisions as simple matters where the rear driver is always to blame. However, the law looks at the fuller context of accidents to learn whether their damage could reasonably have been avoided or lessened. Among the additional details would probably be things like the victim's speed at the time of the collision, whether its driver was distracted, if the big rig ahead braked gradually or abruptly for traffic, if the road was wet or otherwise hazardous, what other nearby vehicles were doing, and many other elements. Another detail that often goes unnoticed is whether the 18-wheeler had an underride guard, also called a Mansfield bar.

The Mansfield bar could be mistaken for a step to get inside the trailer, but it's actually required safety equipment designed for rear-end collisions. It can't stop incoming crashes, but its purpose is to keep vehicles from going underneath the trailer as the pickup reportedly did in Dallas. That simple measure often prevents a serious crash from becoming fatal.

Brian Maples Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-635 in Dallas, TX

Sometimes underride guards are much less useful if trucking companies haven't maintained them. Cost-cutting measures often mean scaling back repairs and maintenance checks, particularly on "non-essential" parts of the truck that don't keep it rolling. A truck driver even approached the firm once with recordings of his supervisor telling drivers to spray-paint over rusted guards instead of replacing them since they "aren't important."

I'm not saying anything like that was involved in Dallas. Reports don't say the truck driver did anything wrong or that the truck was in bad shape, and I'm not making any such accusations just because I want more details. My point is just that many additional factors beyond "who hit whom" must be accounted for after a collision like this. People read about someone rear-ending a truck and think "case closed," but without looking at all the possible issues the investigation isn't complete. The victim's loved ones deserve to know the whole story.

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