Finding even a little bit of humor in truck accidents is not something that happens very often. Those with experience in dealing with trying to recover compensation for victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries tend to be focused most on protecting victims’ rights and obtaining the compensation that’s deserved.
That’s why when we saw the headline “The Joys of Watching a Bridge Shave the Tops Off Trucks,” we couldn’t resist. The notion that there could be such a feeling associated with a truck accident just seemed a little unreal. And then we found out the bridge in question is in Durham.
The story doesn’t specifically identify where this train bridge is located, but it apparently is somewhere in the vicinity of Duke University. We know that because a Duke employee who has an office near the bridge has been capturing video of accidents there since about 2008. And since then, he has recorded 100 times when trucks or campers that surpass its 11-foot-8 inch height have had more than a little taken off the top. He posts them on his website, 11foot8.com
That 11-foot-8 height is about two feet below what standard-sized trucks can clear. It didn’t used to be a problem, but as trucks got bigger over the last century that has changed.
State transportation officials say there has never been a fatality at the site. Only one person suffered injury, and that was fairly minor. But officials say more than $500,000 in vehicle damage has been recorded. And if you decide to take in some of the video that’s available on the website, you’ll probably conclude that it’s something of a miracle that worse accidents haven’t resulted.
Transportation department engineers note that the bridge already has a height sensor in place that is supposed to help prevent such accidents. But they say it’s clear that more is needed and so they are building a system to tie the sensor to a nearby traffic signal. The hope is that by turning the light red drivers of too-high trucks will pause long enough to avoid trouble.
The videographer says maybe that will happen, and maybe it won’t. He says he’ll keep filming.