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An appalling truck accident

Technology is always a double-edged sword. It both provides more protection from some dangers, while offering numerous opportunities for increasing risks. Trucking companies have various types of technology to make their operations more efficient, safer and more profitable.

Many trucks are now equipped with the equivalent of the "black boxes" used to record flight data on aircraft. Much of the operation of the truck can be monitored, often real-time, via satellite uplink, at the company's data center. Some companies even mount dashboard cameras that record both the truck driver and the view out of the windshield. This is designed to provide evidence of what the driver was doing and road conditions, should a truck accident occur.

In a truck so equipped, one would expect the driver would recognize that he or she is being watched and remain alert and focused on the safe operation of their vehicle. But, human nature, being what it is, doesn't always work out that way.

A truck equipped in that manner was involved in an accident in Arizona. The driver placed his wallet on the dash to block most of the camera's view of the driver's seat. On the video, we watch as his truck crashes into two state trooper's cars and three fire trucks.

The accident killed the state trooper who was sitting in his vehicle writing up a previous accident. The video also shows the truck driver's cellphone flying out of his hand at the moment the crash occurred.

Phone records show he was distracted by "photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing," on Facebook, according to a report by the Arizona Daily Star. He has been charged with 20 felonies, including second-degree murder, endangerment and criminal damage. 

Source: Firehouse.com, "Report: Trucker who Struck, Killed Ariz. Trooper was Looking at Facebook," The Sun, November 4, 2013

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