Destroyed Skagit River BridgeAccording to personal injury experts Berkowitz and Hanna LLC, driving while speaking on a cellphone is not only a dangerous distraction, but also a leading cause of auto accidents.  Case in point is the 2013 Skagit River Bridge collapse.  The Washington State Department of Transportation filed suit against the truck driver, his employer (Mullen Trucking LP), the pilot car driver and her company (G&T Crawlers), and the owner of the metal shed being transported (Saxon Energy Services, Inc.).

A section of the Skagit River Bridge fell into the water after a truck driver ‘s load hit the bridge in Mount Vernon, about 60 miles north of Seattle in May 2013. Two other vehicles fell into the Skagit River, and three people were rescued with minor injuries.  According to the Washington State Patrol’s report, truck driver William Scott, who was driving with a tall load for Mullen Trucking, “hit 11 arced sway braces on the bridge” and was carrying a load that measured at 15 feet and 11 inches – exceeding the allowable load limit by almost one foot

The National Transportation Safety Board said that insufficient route planning, a distracted pilot driver (Tammy Delray) who was on her cellphone as the vertical clearance pole mounted on her truck repeatedly struck the overhead bridge sway braces while she neglected to relay that information to Scott, as well as an inadequate permitting process by the State of Washington, all played a part in the accident.

Notes Berkowitz and Hanna LLC, the plaintiff is seeking an excess of $17M to recover costs related to the 2013 bridge collapse.

Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons