Yesterday the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that a truck driver probably failed to get the required amount of rest and had taken methamphetamine prior to the the 2015 Tennessee crash left six people dead.
The crash happened in June 2015 in Ooltewah, Tennessee. According to the report, 40 year old truck driver Benjamin Brewer was driving almost 80 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. construction zone when he failed to slow for traffic and crashed. Seven vehicles with total 18 occupants were involved in that crash.
Among those killed were a mother, her two daughters aged 9 and 11, and their grandmother.
NTSB Report Results Blame Trucker And Recommend Several Safety Regulation Changes
Investigators say that there was no indication of hard braking or an attempt to make an evasive maneuver to avoid the collision even through there were several signs warning about the construction zone ahead.
The NTSB report found that Brewer had likely gone for 40 hours without rest and that he tested positive for methamphetamine use.
NTSB investigators found that trucking companies are not doing enough to properly screen their drivers. Brewer had reportedly been involved in seven crashes in the past five years and had a history of drug abuse, but was hired by Cool Runnings Express Inc. anyway. And only three days before the fatal crash, Brewer was cited for sideswiping another semi in Florida.
Investigators also continue to recommend that all commercial vehicles be fitted with emergency braking systems to prevent rear-end crashes.
NTSB recommended continuing to take action against fatigued, impaired, and distracted driving, though they admitted that “this is not a new issue.”
Investigators also recommended research into the prevalence of drug use among truck drivers and suggested that alternate methods of drug testing be implemented — hair testing was specifically mentioned several times throughout the report.
Brewer is currently being held on a $500,000 bond while awaiting trial in Chattanooga.