Second major rollover in one week concerns community
Another semi truck overturned this weekend, leaving chocolate in its wake, and a not-so-sweet traffic jam. With this second major rollover in one week, Utah Department of Transportation officials are trying to figure out why so many trucks are crashing.
On Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. a semi-truck overturned on Interstate 80 eastbound just past U.S. Highway 40 Silver Creek junction. It was carrying chocolate and all lanes were blocked for over an hour.
This crash occurred less than a week after millions of bees swarmed the area when another semi-truck carrying beehives overturned.
Lieutenant Randall Richey with Utah Highway Patrol said the crashes occurred in almost the exact same place. He said the latest crash occurred due to a driver error when he tried to move into another lane and lost control. The beehive truck crash is still under investigation.
Richey said more crashes are occurring in this area and officials are working to figure out the cause.
Mitchell Shaw, a spokesperson with Utah Department of Transportation, said one reason could be the trucking workforce itself.
“But you're probably aware that there's a truck driver shortage, nationally, and so what you're seeing is, they're not only a shortage, you know, like you were saying the shortage impacts, schedules and stuff like that we have, we have fewer truck drivers who's got to make that up somehow," he said. "So that can have an impact. But you're seeing younger, less experienced truck drivers too.”
Shaw said that it’s not just the impact of the trucks but what crashes do to traffic and nearby areas. With every rollover comes a traffic jam, which can impact emergency vehicles, not just commuters, and also pose fire and environmental hazards.
When a crash occurs, a heavy wrecker towing company is called to remove the semi with a forklift. Richey said that sometimes crews must remove the contents of the truck by hand depending on how much of it ends up on the highway. He said one truck carrying potatoes and another one carrying beer required such clean-ups in recent memory.
Shaw said UDOT is investigating this stretch of highway and will look into more signage. He went on to implore the public to always use caution when on the road.