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Semi-truck accident claims life of activist from Bergen County

Paying attention to traffic isn’t easy for any New Jersey driver who is bored, overworked or tired. Driver inattentiveness is prevalent among people who drive for a living. Thirteen percent of all commercial vehicle operators involved in collisions were found to be fatigued, according to a study reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

A semi-truck accident can cause severe property and personal damage. A tired, distracted or intoxicated trucker isn’t driving a vehicle as much as he is operating a heavily-loaded, high-speed weapon. FMCA recorded 60,000 injuries and 3,341 deaths in 273,000 large truck accidents nationwide in 2011.

A co-founder of the Bergen Save the Watershed Action Network recently died in a multi-vehicle crash. The 53-year-old part-time Bard College professor was headed to work along a toll road when he was forced to slow down for a snowplow with mechanical problems. A tractor-trailer rear-ended the New Jersey man’s vehicle, killing the scientist and injuring a half dozen other motorists.

The victim and his long-time partner co-founded SWAN 30 years ago. SWAN’s goal has been land preservation around reservoirs, but the scientist’s interests stretched around the world. The environmentalist had completed a global warming study in Antarctica just before his death.

An act of negligence can take very little time. Many drivers are in such a hurry to get where they want to go that they ignore fatigue and do nothing productive to regain alertness. A few seconds of distraction – hands off the wheel or eyes off the road — may cause another person’s permanent disability or forever deprive a family of a loved one’s company.

Violent truck accidents often injure many people simultaneously. The pain and suffering directly affects the injured parties but also includes relatives responsible for holding families together through a medical crisis or grief. Compensation for injuries caused by negligence is available through New Jersey civil claims.

Source: The Record, “Bergen County environmental activist Mark Becker killed in crash on N.Y. Thruway” Jim Norman, Feb. 27, 2014

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