Two Killed, One Injured in Truck Accident on 210 Freeway in Tujunga, CA
Tujunga, CA -- May 25, 2022, two people died after their car collided with a tractor-trailer on the 210 Freeway in Tujunga.
Authorities say the incident happened around midnight on westbound 210 near La Tuna Canyon Road. Preliminary investigation suggests only that a passenger vehicle and a commercial 18-wheeler collided in the area and the car became trapped beneath the semi-trailer. Both vehicles came to rest on the right shoulder of the freeway. A pedestrian was also somehow hit during the crash and was found unresponsive in the road.
Both of the car's occupants suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The pedestrian's condition is unknown. No other injuries were reported.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Truck Accident on 210 Fwy in Tujunga
Images and video from the scene show the passenger vehicle being towed from beneath the back of the big rig, suggesting this was probably a rear-end collision of unknown circumstances. To some that may mean the situation basically explains itself, as they think rear-end collisions are simple matters where the rear driver is always to blame. That's not actually the case.
The law looks at the fuller context of accidents to learn whether their damage could reasonably have been avoided or lessened. Among the important facts still to learn would probably be things like the vehicles' speeds, whether either driver was distracted, if the big rig ahead braked suddenly for some reason, if the road was wet or otherwise hazardous, what other nearby vehicles and the pedestrian 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 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 a crash from happening, but it's meant to keep vehicles from going underneath the trailer as the car seems to have done in Tujunga. That simple measure often prevents a serious crash from becoming fatal.
Sometimes underride guards are much less useful if trucking companies haven't maintained them. Some firms ignore repairs and maintenance checks to save money, particularly on "non-essential" parts of the truck that don't keep it rolling. A frustrated truck driver once approached the firm 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 on the 210 Freeway. 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 by asking for more details. My point is 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 victims' loved ones deserve to know the whole story.