Daniel McGuire was just 25-years-old when he was killed in an accident with a commercial tractor trailer on Highway 17. A truck loaded with dirt was unable to stop when traveling down a hill and caused an accident involving 10 vehicles. The California Highway Patrol responded to the accident and said that McGuire was partially ejected from the vehicle.
Saini Trucking & Saini Brothers Trucking were the primary defendants in the claim made by McGuire’s parents. The trucking company was accused of demonstrating negligence in hiring, supervising and training workers. The case was eventually settled for $9.5 million. The family hopes that the suit will serve as a reminder to implement further safety measures in the commercial truck market.
The attorney who negotiated the terms of the settlement wished to have the amount disclosed so that other trucking companies will be deterred from continuing poor maintenance and inspection practices. The settlement was described as a “wake up call” for commercial carriers.
Apparently, the driver had only been licensed for three months at the time. The plaintiffs want the industry to implement tiered (graduated) levels for truck driver licensing based on experience, perhaps having those with less experience prohibited from transporting heavier loads. Sean McNally, a spokesman for the American Trucking Association, says the organization continues to consider legislation geared toward safety. He explained that reducing speed is a key, as it diminishes the overall seriousness of these truck crashes.
McGuire’s father, who says the case was never about the money, stated that the resolution provides him with closure. Rejeana Scarpello, McGuire’s sister, viewed the settlement as a much needed resolution for moving on from the emotional and lengthy trial preparations. His parents hoped that something positive would result from the incident, explaining they hope to “spearhead changes in the trucking industry.” The parents had already lost their oldest son, Andrew McGuire, in an accident in 2008 on Interstate 5.
A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report published in January 2017 found that driver experience is a significant factor in the potential for accidents. Drivers with fewer than five years of experience had a 41% higher likelihood to be the cause of a crash compared to those with 5 years of experience or more. The likelihood of being the cause of a crash decreases incrementally with experience, as the likelihood drops another 14% when a driver reaches 10 years of experience.