Truck driver was wearing headphones that may have contributed to a deadly 2020 tour bus crash in Pennsylvania.
Personal injury attorneys Bressman Law and seven other firms filed suit against FedEx in a deadly Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania turnpike accident.
Five people died, including a nine-year-old, and about 60 motorcoach passengers were severely injured in the tragic accident, which occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2020.
According to the claim, FedEx driver Brandon Stowers was using noise-canceling headphones when he crashed into a Z&D Tour Inc. bus. The bus driver lost control and swerved toward the turnpike median, then veered to the right and tipped onto its side after colliding with a steep embankment.
The tour bus ended up blocking all westbound lanes and was struck by Stowers’ FedEx tractor-trailer. A UPS tractor-trailer then collided with the FedEx truck killing the UPS truck’s driver and co-driver.
The lawsuit alleges that the noise-canceling headphones caused Stowers to miss alerts from FedEx’s onboard alarm system. This system would have warned him that an object was blocking the lanes ahead, potentially avoiding further catastrophic injuries and death to bus passengers.
In August 2017, FedEx was sued due to another driver wearing noise-canceling headphones and causing life-threatening injuries to an innocent victim. Therefore, the lawsuit contends that FedEx purposefully allows its drivers to wear noise-canceling headsets despite their use being illegal in Pennsylvania.
It said that due to the reckless decisions and behavior of FedEx, more lives were taken, and severe injuries occurred that should not have happened.
According to Title 75, section 3314 of Pennsylvania’s consolidated statutes, motor vehicle operators are not allowed to operate a vehicle while using or wearing “one or more headphones or earphones.” However, the law does make an exception for hearing aids or when used in one ear for cellphones.
The driver in this case was allegedly wearing large D.J.-style headphones over both ears.
Besides holding FedEx responsible for the injuries and deaths financially, the lawsuit will attempt to force FedEx to enact policies to prevent drivers from wearing noise-canceling headphones.
Additional civil lawsuits against FedEx and Z&D Tour are pending in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh and Superior Court in New Jersey.
In their preliminary report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the collision remains under investigation while they determine its cause.
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