Bicycle Rider Ryan Billings of Independence Died In Wellsville Tractor-Trailer Truck Accident On State Route 19 In Allegany County
ALLEGANY COUNTY, NEW YORK (October 29, 2021) – A bicyclist identified as Ryan Billings has tragically died in a semi-truck accident on State Route 19.
Wellsville police officials are saying that the accident took place early Thursday morning. Ryan Billings was riding a bicycle on State Route 19 during heavy fog.
A semi-truck driven by a 32-year-old man hit the victim as both were traveling northbound. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the bicyclist.
Sadly, Ryan Billings died following the collision. New York State Police have not charged the driver of the truck. A full investigation into the collision remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Wellsville Semi-Truck Accidents
Every year nearly 4,000 people are killed in accidents with commercial trucks. According to one report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 54% of all fatal truck collisions took place on major roads. This compares to 15% of truck fatalities taking place on minor roads. Nearly 67% of truck fatalities are passengers of cars whereas 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. There are a number of factors that can contribute to semi-truck accidents including:
- Speeding: Controlling a commercial vehicle is much more difficult at higher speeds.
- Inclement Weather: Rain, fog or snow can dramatically increase the odds of an accident. This is especially true when drivers are not used to driving during inclement weather.
- Driver Inexperience: Driving a commercial truck is very different from driving a passenger vehicle. When driver’s don’t get the training they need, accidents are more likely to occur.
Every person that operates a commercial semi-truck must first get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). They must receive special training and pass a knowledge and skills test. In general, commercial drivers are held to a high standard in terms of safety. According to the FMCSA, “CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads.” Serious traffic violations could endanger a truck driver’s ability to maintain their CDL.
Truck drivers must also follow all requirements under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For example, truck driver’s are not allowed to start their shift with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. They must also be well rested and take periodic brakes. As it turns out, driving while fatigue can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. According to one report from the Centers for Disease Control, staying awake for only 18 hours reduces driving ability equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.04%.
If a truck driver hits a bicyclist in the roadway there is a good chance that they could be held at fault. According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1146(a), all drivers must exercise due care to avoid hitting bicyclists, pedestrians and domestic animals in the roadway. They must also use their horn when necessary to warn others about their presence. Pursuant to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1180, no person shall operate a motor vehicle at a speed greater than is prudent and reasonable given the prevailing conditions of the roadway. When a driver’s visibility is reduced due to fog, they must slow down.
Depending on the specific facts of any case, liability for a truck accident could extend beyond any driver. The company that a truck driver was working for could be held at fault for a collision. As a general rule of thumb, companies can be vicariously liable for the negligent conduct of their employees. However, many truck companies try to evade liability for collisions by hiring their drivers as “independent contractors.” It’s important to determine the status of a truck driver at the time of a collision. There are a number of other steps that should be taken.
- Surveillance footage of the accident should be sought.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Many commercial trucks have event data recorders (EDRs). These should be examined after any crash.
- A truck driver’s work records should be looked at.
The family of any victim that died in a truck accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim can help cover some of the unexpected expenses that can come with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. In order to win any civil claim, plaintiffs will have to demonstrate negligence. A New York wrongful death attorney can examine all of the facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Wellsville Semi-Truck Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ryan Billings. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of all who have lost so much. Is there a history of collisions along this road? Was the truck driver distracted prior to the crash? Could this tragedy have been prevented? Far too often speedy trips are favored in a way that puts pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.
Do you need more information about a Wellsville semi-truck accident? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are treated fairly and given all the information that they deserve from police departments. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into a collision we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.