Sitting Duck



On October 13, 2021, a crash occurred in Shiawassee County, Michigan, that resulted in the preventable and unfortunate death of a 41-year-old man from Flint. He was apparently traveling eastbound on I-69 when his vehicle ran into the back of a semi trailer. The semi truck was parked on the shoulder of the road and, in all likelihood, the semi truck was parked illegally on the shoulder of the highway.

As truck accident attorneys that represent family members of people seriously injured or killed in truck accident cases, we refer to semi trucks parked on the shoulder as “sitting ducks” because they are often hit by drivers passing by on the highway. In fact, federal and state trucking safety laws prevent semi trucks from parking on the shoulder of the highway — unless there is an emergency — because semi trucks parked illegally on the shoulder of the highway causes multiple deaths in the United States every year. Those deaths are avoidable, and entirely preventable, by the truck drivers and trucking companies that are supposed to follow the laws designed to keep other drivers safe on busy highways like I-69.

While there are cases where semi trucks are allowed to be parked along the side of a highway, or an off ramp or an on ramp to a highway, in most cases a semi truck parked on the shoulder of the highway is illegally parked and creating a serious danger. Instead of resting along the side of the road, or parking on the shoulder of a highway, semi trucks are supposed to be parked at rest areas or truck stops where drivers of other vehicles are far less likely to hit them at a high rate of speed. Not only is the driver of a semi truck parked along the shoulder of a highway like I-69 almost certainly not following the law, the driver is also not using common sense. A fully loaded semi truck and trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When it is parked, and hit from behind by any vehicle that is significantly smaller, it makes sense that the driver of the smaller vehicle will probably be seriously injured or killed in the crash. Even though most truck drivers are specifically trained to avoid parking on the shoulder of a highway, and they know it is illegal unless there is an emergency, they sometimes still decide to ignore common sense, and the federal and state safety laws designed to keep other motorists safe. When this happens, the semi truck and trailer is a sitting duck just waiting to be hit by a passing driver whose life will either be changed dramatically, or ended, just because a truck driver failed to follow the law.

If you see a “sitting duck” parked on the shoulder of the highway, steer clear. If you are involved in an accident caused by a sitting duck, or the decreased visibility around the sitting duck, you may not be responsible for the accident. The truck driver, or the trucking company they work for, may be at fault (even if the truck was stopped for an emergency). If you have questions, contact a trucking accident lawyer at Inosencio Fisk who will work with you to make sure you’re compensated by the insurance company insuring the truck driver and the trucking company.

If you or a family member has been injured because a semi truck parked on the shoulder of a highway, text us at 517-796-1444 and one of our truck accident attorneys will respond right away.