Grayson Davis Dead in Three-Vehicle Crash on State Highway 276 in Rockwall, TX
Rockwall, TX -- May 24, 2022, 27-year-old Grayson Davis died in a three-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer on State Highway 276 in Rockwall.
Authorities say the incident happened around 5:00 p.m. on Highway 276 near Rochelle Road. Preliminary investigation suggests a Freightliner semi-truck was towing a trailer east on the highway as Davis was westbound in a Honda Civic. Behind the Honda was a Chevy Tahoe driven by Michael Martin.
Reports say the truck started to hydroplane in the heavy rain and the driver lost control. The truck jackknifed and entered the oncoming lane. Davis' Honda collided with the cab of the truck, and the Tahoe crashed into its trailer.
Davis suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Michelle Martin, a passenger in the Tahoe, was airlifted to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The truck driver was treated for minor injuries.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Grayson Davis Accident on TX-276 in Rockwall
Reports about the crash say it happened on wet roads during heavy rain--serious conditions which cause problems for drivers on just about any road. Some may feel that explains what happened here and there's little need to look closer. That thinking can leave victims and families high and dry since weather can't really be held accountable for what happened to them.
However, arguments about bad weather being the culprit don't always hold water (pun not intended). Weather itself doesn't really cause accidents; what people do in it does. Of particular concern is the idea that a commercial truck driver surrounded by heavy rain may not have adjusted his driving to avoid hydroplaning. That might be a violation of federal law:
"Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated."CFR §392.14
To summarize: Truck drivers should slow down or stop completely if conditions get too hairy to safely operate. That statute has been on the books for decades, and much too often we see reports of 18-wheelers tooling along (or even speeding) in ice and rain, ignoring the law and causing devastating crashes.
Having said that, I'm not accusing the trucker in Rockwall of anything. Once a big rig goes a little out of control that can snowball quickly, and I don't have secret inside information telling me the truck's speed when it hydroplaned. I also acknowledge again that dangerous weather conditions can be tricky to navigate for just about any driver--even a professional one with extra training in keeping his rig on the road in those conditions.
My point is just that things are likely more complicated than they may seem and the whole enchilada shouldn't just be blamed on rain. The law holds truck drivers to a higher standard of care in those situations, so if this one should have done something differently that's worth knowing--and possibly acting upon. At the very least, the people affected by the wreck deserve to know it was properly investigated and some proper accountability will be had.