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Truck driver killed hauling load of steel sheet piles

Flatbed driver impaled when cargo smashed through cab

The driver of a flatbed truck died Tuesday just outside of San Diego when the load he was hauling smashed through his cab and killed him. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The driver of a flatbed truck was killed Tuesday when the load he was hauling smashed through his cab, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred just before 3 p.m. on Interstate 8 about 25 miles east of San Diego when the truck driver, who has not been identified, abruptly applied his brakes. It caused what was reported to be an improperly secured load of steel sheet pile to shift forward.

“This caused the load to penetrate the back cab of the truck and impale the driver,” CHP spokesperson Travis Garrow told FreightWaves. “The sheet pile shifted forward during the brake application. It wasn’t secured properly in order for it to move forward like that.”

The truck driver died at the scene of the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident, police said, and it is not yet known if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

No other vehicles appeared to have been involved in the accident. Garrow said the official report has not been completed and is pending information from the medical examiner’s office.

It’s not clear if the flatbed truck was equipped with a headache rack, which is not required by federal regulations. Flatbed headache racks are designed to prevent shifting cargo from penetrating the tractor cab.


Driving flatbed trucks requires more training and skill than dry van or refrigerated trucks, as loads can be anything from building materials to oversize industrial equipment. And flatbed truck drivers are required to secure the loads they are hauling with chains or straps, or both.

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One Comment

  1. Richard M Rehmer

    every driver who hauls sheet steel knows to x chain the front of the load to prevent it from sliding forward, someone either forgot to teach him that or he is too young to know. Truck driving school teaches you nothing about load securement all they teach is how to pass the test and charge you a fortune the rest is on you to learn. FMSCA says that by taking over driving schools and certifying the instruction it will do better. No, it will not do better, they high ball these kids through the program teach them what it will take to pass the CDL, and send them out on the road to either kill someone or tear up trucks because they were not taught the basics like the look in your mirrors you are pulling a 53-foot trailer, majority of trucking school pull a single axle 20-foot trailer so the kids do not run the thing over everything, most of them can not back the truck and trailer. The apprentice program might work, but the kids of today don’t want to take advice, they think they know everything. I have pulled a trailer for 40 years and am sad at what these truck driving schools and major trucking companies allow to just go out and drive an 80000 lb rig.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]
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