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Deadly Semi-Car Crash Snarls Traffic but Who is at Fault?

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Bangerter Highway was closed for hours this morning because of a deadly crash that occurred at about 4:45 a.m. A West Jordan Police spokesperson said that 31-year old Phillip Nielsen was driving a Jeep east on 90th South when he ran a red light at Bangerter and was T-boned on the driver’s side by a semi hauling dirt. It took quite some time to extricate the man from the Jeep and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was treated for minor injuries.

Obviously this accident is a tragedy but what may not be so obvious, is who is at fault. It is clear that Nielsen ran the red light and is, therefore, largely responsible for the accident. But the posted speed limit on Bangerter Highway where the accident occurred is 60 miles per hour. Reports on the speed of the semi as it entered the intersection have varied, but at least one has the truck moving at 70 miles per hour. IF that is the case, does the truck driver also bear some responsibility for what happened?

For instance, assume the truck driver was speeding but could have avoided the accident had he been going the speed limit. I think under those circumstances he shares responsibility for the accident because the law indicates that we all have an obligation to avoid an accident if we can safety take steps to do so, regardless of who has the right-of-way. Blaming the Jeep driver in this instance is the easy call, but investigators must look at all of the factors that resulted in the accident to determine if that is the only call.

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  1. Id Est X says:
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    Amazing: this four wheeler runs a red light, clearly illegal, yet you still want to focus on the abstract. Was the trucker wrong; yes, but frankly, had he been going the speed limit, I could also speculate that the jeep would have t-boned him instead; and then they both would have died.