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View Full Version : Mixed Feelings... (after accident)


TonyUFN
02-21-2010, 11:31 AM
First off let me explain a bit. I own a small auto transport company which I use my 2008 5500 C/C to pull wedge, lowboy and enclosed trailers. I am fully compliant and legal in regards to operation, therefore am inspected and maintained regularly.

I was recently involved in a multi-vehicle accident in Pennsylvania on I-76 Eastbound (17 milepost), on 02/17/2010 @ approx 11:15ph EST. I was the 3rd or 4th truck to become involved. My load consisted of a 1997 MB sedan and a 2006 Ford commercial van(DHL Van), so I was hauling my lowboy trailer. The combination is configured for 5th wheel rated at 30k+ lbs at the hitch, and I'm legal at the 40,500GVW the combination tags at(plated for 45k). The gross weight of the trailer with its load was right about 11,400#.

2 trucks had jackknifed around a blind curve, and the truck I was behind saw it late, locked them up and continued to slide on the black ice into the mess. My avoidance put me into the passing lane to avoid immediately hitting him. Upon entering the passing lane with brakes applied, the jack-knifed trucks were then visible to me. Stopping was not happening since the truck was already on the ice and anti-lock did not function at all putting the truck into a full slide at approximately 50 mph(65mph speed limit, conditions suggested 55ish as the road "appeared dry") into the back of a fully loaded semi-trailer. Even the state troopers slid on the ice upon leaving their squad cars, ending on their backside commenting that they did not think the road was even wet?!?!

The anti-lock brakes never pulsated, and the airbags did NOT deploy. Disappointing at the least. I did walk(ie, hobble) away from the incident. But in all opinions should not have survived(per emergency crews and state police comments).

Here is my quandary... which may give you some thinking material as well.

The truck cab was crumpled, but still offered protection. My trailer (configured as such) was stopped by the truck frame, so it did not enter the occupant space. Other than some pinning by the dash which prevented the engine from coming into the compartment, I was able to exit quickly. Another semi truck hit me at about 40mph since he had more reaction time on better pavement farther up the road at the beginning of the curve.

I broke the drivers window to escape the truck fearing the result of a truck hitting my trailer. Was able to pull my legs from under the dash and climbed out the window and over the center highway divider.

I was able to take pictures at the scene, as well as requested pictures from one of the responding fire departments. the fire department was fixated on my truck specifically and the airbag non-deployment. this was noted by them and the state police in their reports.

Injuries were limited to myself, being a few broken bones and needing facial surgery(32 stitches to reattach my lower lip to my jaw - hit the steering wheel). The next lesser was the truck I hit, the driver needed stitches in his hand from a glass cut leaving the cab of his truck and not from the accident(9 stitches). 1 car driver had a cut on his head that stitches (2 stitches).

I am proud of the truck for protecting me due to its sturdiness of the frame and cab compartment. but I also fear the failed airbag deployment as well as lack of anti-lock even attempting to help.

Would you consider replacing the truck with the same? i have been questioning this since I arrived back home alive. (after many prayers and thanks)

There are 2 picture sections, mine and of the fire department to show a majority of the scene. No registration required to view.

My camera phone pictures...
Auto Transporter Community - Auto Expeditor Photo Gallery - Tony's Wreck (http://www.autoexpeditor.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=7)

Fire Department pictures...
Auto Transporter Community - Auto Expeditor Photo Gallery - Tony's Wreck #2 (http://www.autoexpeditor.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=8)

Please do not comment in regards to "too fast for conditions", "shouldnt have been following so close", etc. It was already determined that the incident was ice related and there was no fault of myself, or the drivers behind or beside me. This is more of an information gathering quest, as well as to provide information into the sturdiness of the 4500/5500 chassis, for which I am still proud to have owned since it DID save my life.

http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/IMG00016.jpghttp://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/IMG00024.jpg

http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/IMG00026.jpghttp://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/IMG00031.jpg

The day started like this...
http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/IMG00009.jpg

txarrowhunter
02-21-2010, 12:08 PM
I would definitely get something you feel comfortable and safe driving.

Danderson
02-21-2010, 12:17 PM
Based on your account and the photos, the airbags should have deployed. Dodge and the NHTSB should be informed of this accident. It's amazing you walked away from this. I don't know if the abs would have helped on ice but the airbags would have helped. People fear the "black box" recording devices going into some vehicles,but I'm all for them. Good luck.

torquefan
02-21-2010, 01:18 PM
You are very lucky to have survived that mess. I think that shows very good engineering on Dodge's part, having a passenger area that stood up that well. Dodges sure aren't perfect, but I really don't think there's any vehicle that's a whole lot better.

I am very curious as to what prevented the airbags from deploying. All the essential circuitry is monitored constantly for malfunction and nothing is left to chance. As far as the ABS goes, I never put a whole lot of confidence in the ability of an ABS system to improve a bad situation, especially with a very heavy trailer pushing it around. It may have been operating but couldn't overcome the momentum of the trailer.

67HotRod
02-21-2010, 02:05 PM
I'm not a ABS or air bag fan. The truck held up real well and the fact you basically walked away from that mess is incredible! I'd buy another dodge!

lovinCTD59
02-21-2010, 04:41 PM
I guess im kind of impressed on how well the Dodge took that impact.. Any less of a vehicle the story would have took a different turn.. Glad you are OK though!

I personally would jump right back into a Dodge. But you need to decide whats right for you. Good Luck!

Asher
02-21-2010, 09:32 PM
Since you said you hooked your lip on the steering wheel, I have to ask...

Did you have your seat belt on???? Because if you didn't, I don't think the air bags will deploy because they will break your neck.

TonyUFN
02-22-2010, 06:28 AM
Since you said you hooked your lip on the steering wheel, I have to ask...

Did you have your seat belt on???? Because if you didn't, I don't think the air bags will deploy because they will break your neck.

Absolutely, I never move without the belt fastened. I have the cuts and broken collarbone to prove it. ;)

Load Hauler 04
02-22-2010, 07:25 AM
Boy, Glad your OK. I would buy another Dodge. I had a similar wreck in 88 with a 1 ton duelly Chevy 4x4. A trucker pulled out in front of me and I stuck the truck into the tandams just behind the cab and wedged under the trailer. They had to cut me out of the truck. I was hauling a load of bulls in the stock trailer behind me.

RowJ
02-22-2010, 07:39 AM
...Did you have your seat belt on???? Because if you didn't, I don't think the air bags will deploy .......
Is this accurate??
Inquiring minds want to know!

RJ

TonyUFN
02-22-2010, 07:51 AM
Sorry, thought you were asking if I had it on(I answered 2 posts up)... I edited my response, but...

lol, If you thought the dinger was annoying sitting in your driveway, imagine how bad it would have been driving 500 miles with it dinging the whole way :)

As far as "if" it will operate, I would have no clue. But I'm not personally going to call Dodge to ask.

madhat
02-22-2010, 11:31 AM
Glad you're ok. I've seen white sheets out for wrecks that were not that bad.

defabshopweldin
02-22-2010, 12:02 PM
I've looked and bought a few wrecks and seen some where I can't believe the air bag didn't deploy and some where I question why it did deploy. It does appear more often than not the deployment centers around the frame. I am thinking that above the frame you crumple and decelerate more slowly than an end of frame crash. Air bags work on rate of deceleration, and as bad as the crash was, because it crumpled sheet metal the deceleration might just not have been fast enough for it to trigger the bags!! The decel must also be in line, hence in roll overs many times the bags don't deploy either. Of course then there is the they just didn't go off as there is a failure rate associated with them however small it may be.

rip 112
02-22-2010, 12:10 PM
I am very sorry you had an accident like that. many fear accidents for that very reason (brakes won't be enough and airbag won't go off). I also see the mixed feeling about airbags; some think they are good, some think they can cause more damage than w/o (many of whom wouldn't know, just speculation from incidents using airbags, many wouldn't know the differences because many won't have accidents again that could/ would be comparable to the last)

I am agreeing though, that considering you are alive and not in a critical state, and judging from the conditions of impact, the Dodge did very well. I know of some instances before when fellow hay haulers would end up with hitches in the truck from the frame supports giving. Now that dodge has been using hydroformed rails for quite some time, that issue has seemed to have gone away.

I would definitely get all the info you can, possibly hire a lawyer to review the details, and then speak with Dodge, your ins, and the DPS.


Hope you are recuperating well, take it easy.

soulezoo
02-22-2010, 12:44 PM
I had the airbag in my Toyota go off (not a pleasant experience) in a very minor fender bender... so I have to wonder why that didn't go off either. On the ABS, I have had that "no work so great" on a number of different makes of vehicles... not just a Dodge thing for sure.

I am glad you will be ok... I agree with the statements that you have to drive what you will feel comfortable in. And vice versa. It does appear the vehicle more than did its job-- structurally speaking-- this time. That should give wieght to your ultimate decision.

Tedonlin150
02-22-2010, 12:49 PM
I had a 2002 half ton (third gen) that I had a 55+mph head on collision to the side of a Chevy with. The air bags deployed and I walked away completely fine fine physically. The whole engine compartment was crumpled but the cab was not touched. I was very surprised at how well it held up. My dad even sent pictures of it to Chrysler and they used the pictures in a conference they were having about safety.
Maybe its a good thing though that your air bags did not go off. I cannot really tell from the pictures but did the steering wheel get pushed towards you? If it did then an airbag deploy could have done worse damage, but I don't know for sure maybe I'm just full of it.

cincydiesel
02-22-2010, 09:31 PM
I'm speechless in regards to the pictures and I have no opinion to give in regards to your question.. Just glad to see you still able to read and post after that mess.. Here's to a speedy recovery!

RobG
03-04-2010, 12:31 PM
Wow!

I would definitely notify Dodge about the airbags not deploying. That's my only concern. But the truck held up so well that I would not hesitate to get another. This time, I'd go for one of the new 4th gens. :)

Rob

15 Digger
03-04-2010, 03:32 PM
The truck you hit is high. Maybe airbag sensors behind bumper did not get enough impact but rest of truck absorbed it well. If you were not seriously hurt with that damage at that speed I would get another dodge. Also, a wider V8 diesel like the other trucks have might have intruded more of the firewall causing you legs to be pinned worse.

Colo_River_Ram
03-04-2010, 08:56 PM
Glad your alive to tell the story..

Digger brings up a good point it looks like the bumper on the semi trailer was high.. did the state patrol measure the height as there is a max bumper height for all vehicles..

It looks like the PJ trailer held up well, what type of hookup did you have on the truck and how did it hold up?

This is a 2008 I think it has a flight recorder, was the information pulled off of it?

I think I would go with another Dodge..

palomino
03-04-2010, 09:29 PM
wow, that is a nasty wreck, and glad to hear that your still kickin!
Ok, here is a question, were your brakes locked up when you hit? Just wondering if the ABS computer needs to see wheel speed to engauge the SIR in the event of a frontal crash?
I own 2 dodge 2500 trucks, and LOVE them!
I would suggest you get something that you feel comfortable with, and get an attorney to look into the reason why the SIR didn't deploy.

CamperAndy
03-05-2010, 03:42 AM
The truck you hit is high. Maybe airbag sensors behind bumper did not get enough impact but rest of truck absorbed it well. If you were not seriously hurt with that damage at that speed I would get another dodge. Also, a wider V8 diesel like the other trucks have might have intruded more of the firewall causing you legs to be pinned worse.

I think this is the answer also . High impact may have missed the impact sensors.

RAMRODD
03-05-2010, 07:37 AM
To me it looks like your front bumper missed and the direct impact was on top of it. maybe that is why the air bags didn't go off.

Really I am impressed how the truck took the impact with a loaded trailer behind it and overall the passenger department is in good shape

j
03-15-2010, 12:25 AM
Having investigated lots of accidents, you're lucky to be alive or at the very least, not more banged up than you were. From the looks of it, the collision did not hit the airbag sensors in the bumper. If i recall correctly, the sensors are a little lower in the bumper. The state police should be doing a reconstruction depending on their rules (we only do it in severe or fatal collisions), but if they do, they will inspect the truck completely and should be able to tell you if the sensors were hit. Most manufacturers place them lower because you're more ikely to hit something smaller than you (ie: a passenger car) and it's cheaper to install them in the "most likely" location. Glad you're ok though, thats the important thing.

Pooter
03-15-2010, 09:36 PM
Glad you made it out pretty well, but ill say this, those airbags should have deployed IMO.
My wife used to work for a company that handled lemon law buy backs for many manufacturers, and one older case involved a '04 or '05 Dodge ram(1500 I believe) that had t-boned a car of drunks that pulled out in front of him while he was traveling at 60mph. The wreck was so bad that none of the 4 people in the car that pulled out survived, and the airbags in his truck did not go off. They tried to give him some BS about how the cars weight wasnt enough to trigger the airbags in the Ram, it didnt slow the truck down quick enough to trigger them. Im not sure how badly injured the driver of the Ram was, but clearly a wreck where air bags should have deployed and didnt.
Id definitely consult an attorney.

RickG
03-16-2010, 07:26 AM
Airbag nondeployment is a real concern for emergency responders . Responders have been seriously injured by delayed deployment when trying to remove victims . I have heard of at least one death but haven't been able to substantiate that . IMO sensors should be placed higher than the bumper . There are many crashes where the bumper goes under the object involved .
I had a deer hit the right front of my '94 Thunderbird causing over $3,000 damage . The airbag sensors were behind the grill and the impact sheared the right sensor off . The airbags didn't deploy and the insurance adjuster tried to deny payment for replacement of the sensor saying the airbag would have deployed if the sonsor was damaged .
Here's an interesting article on airbags
http://abrn.search-autoparts.com/abrn/Collision+Repair/Repairers-urged-to-heed-airbag-deployment-issues/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/584835

Totallyrad
03-16-2010, 08:10 AM
First, glad you were able to escape and move away on your own. When the steering wheel folds down like that it can make it difficult. Like others have said, based only on the photos, I feel like the air bags would have not deployed as well. The bumper still looks nearly as it should before the accident and was moved forward at the bottom, not compressed from the impact. The impact was above the sensors except where you struck the DOT bumper on the semi. Recording the deployment of the air bags is pretty standard information gathering these days. Most fire/rescue and police reports have check offs for that info. As the the brakes, I do not have anything to share that would be factual and helpful other than if the computer did record any info, the download should clear up whether they functioned. No bash or argument intended by this statement but sometimes, in an accident, folks get so much info and sensations thrown at them at the time of the accident that they misinterpret or confuse what they remember. Again, not disputing what you're saying, just passing info. All in all, I'd say you were lucky and blessed. I wouldn't have a problem getting back into another truck like that.

Now a question. Did you receive the impact to the rear of your rig after you exited? It appears so. I really couldn't identify the buckle in the roof in the first couple pictures.

TonyUFN
02-24-2011, 12:14 PM
A year has passed. I hit the anniversary date with a few shots of bourbon.
But as far as an update goes... I've nearly fully recovered. But still in a crappy position after the insurance company and medical bills took hold.

I've started a little project to hopefully replace the truck. I dunno, maybe it'll work... I've seen crazier things work out on the internet.

www.trailerdoodle.com

Joezilla
02-24-2011, 10:25 PM
Sorry, thought you were asking if I had it on(I answered 2 posts up)... I edited my response, but...

lol, If you thought the dinger was annoying sitting in your driveway, imagine how bad it would have been driving 500 miles with it dinging the whole way :)

As far as "if" it will operate, I would have no clue. But I'm not personally going to call Dodge to ask.

The annoying dinger CAN be turned off. I just turned mine off yesterday. It sure is nice to not have that danged noise maker going off!!

Glad you came through the wreck okay. Stuff can be replaced.

Joe

ddbackhoe
02-25-2011, 08:43 AM
A year has passed. I hit the anniversary date with a few shots of bourbon.
But as far as an update goes... I've nearly fully recovered. But still in a crappy position after the insurance company and medical bills took hold.

I've started a little project to hopefully replace the truck. I dunno, maybe it'll work... I've seen crazier things work out on the internet.

www.trailerdoodle.com

Bourbon can be a big helper (unless it's Jack):) Did you ended up being underinsured or are things still being worked out in the court system? Probably a huge fear for most of us.

TonyUFN
02-25-2011, 09:01 AM
Bourbon can be a big helper (unless it's Jack):) Did you ended up being underinsured or are things still being worked out in the court system? Probably a huge fear for most of us.

Underinsured. You wouldn't think it, but even the big name insurance companies bury things in the fine print. Stated value is one that is starting to become more apparent. When they ask on the phone how much you paid for your truck and you give them a ballpark number... then it only comes up again in the fine print when the unthinkable happens.

TonyUFN
02-25-2011, 09:22 AM
I hadn't noticed the reply from back in March... might have been all the meds that made me miss it.

The truck you hit is high. Maybe airbag sensors behind bumper did not get enough impact but rest of truck absorbed it well.

To me it looks like your front bumper missed and the direct impact was on top of it. maybe that is why the air bags didn't go off.

So here's something to start you thinking...

Bumper height? I'd hate to be in a 3500 if that were the case since its even shorter... heaven forbid a little car.
What even Dodge seemed to never take into consideration was the standard ICC bar on the back of the trailer. Nice imprints it left on the steel bumper that supposedly didn't take a hit... It was the first thing to take a whack.
http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/leftfront.jpg
http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/rightfront.jpg
http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/rightside.jpg

All of which brought me closer to the dash, and the dash closer to me
http://www.autoexpeditor.com/cumminsforum/interior.jpg

CD in NM
02-25-2011, 10:20 AM
WOW !! Just amazing, and you walked (hobbled) away from it. Hard to believe that your insurance company did not take good care of you, but then, they are in it for themselves, eh?

I used to travel the turnpike in PA a lot, black ice IS a tremendous problem there, and many of the curves are pretty blind.

GLAD to hear you made it out of that OK and are still kicking, I would have had a salute or tow myself on the anniversary.

I agree with you on the air bag not being up to par, but they do function on decel, and when something happens quickly, like most accidents do, they do not go off. Thinking an air bag adds to your safety is a flase sense of comfort, even the side air bags do not always deploy as one would think.




CD

rebal
02-27-2011, 08:58 PM
A good friend of mine had the air bag deploy on him and he looked like he did a few rounds with a heavy weight boxer plus he broke his collar bone and broke his nose too. I could not believe how bad his face looked from the air bag hitting him .I think the truck did a good job and didn't bust your nose ether. glad your OK .

ddbackhoe
02-28-2011, 11:21 AM
Underinsured. You wouldn't think it, but even the big name insurance companies bury things in the fine print. Stated value is one that is starting to become more apparent. When they ask on the phone how much you paid for your truck and you give them a ballpark number... then it only comes up again in the fine print when the unthinkable happens.
Darn sorry to hear that. For some reason, it doesn't surprise me that I should need a lawyer and a cpa to review every friggin document. [verymad] I don't think highly of insurance agents or politicians, either one will do anything to get money out of your pocket, hmmm just like a lot lizard [redface]

CatDiesel_762
03-05-2011, 04:55 AM
Every day your alive after such an accident such as yours is a blessing and sometimes a curse. Only time will tell if it will heal the memories and the scars. I am glad you made it out alive.

From your photos it looks like you truck's crumple zone did its job and that helped the cab remain mostly in tack. The steering wheel collapse was actually a good thing. Otherwise it would have been the end of you as it would have become a spear.

I am curious if your truck was equipped with an airbag or did not have one installed. I could not tell from the pictures if the steering wheel had the airbag markings such as (SRS) Supplemental Restraint System. I would assume it should have been a standard issue, but since our trucks are built out of country, I have to wonder.

I hope that your able to work out a reasonable compensation for your trouble from your or the other drivers insurance. I had teenager total my fathers car, but was not at fault. Our insurance company had us start with the other drivers insurance to claim compensation so we could avoid having to pay for the deductible. After a month of phone calls between insurance companies and filling out police and state traffic reports we gave up and had our insurance company total the car minus the deductible.

Shawn

Rednax
03-07-2011, 08:18 PM
That was a very nicely configured truck by appearance. The sleeper looked well done. Am sorry about the accident, and impressed by the damage sustained to the truck versus injuries reported by the driver.

mrod67
03-10-2011, 09:29 PM
Glad you are okay to post about this. Sort of OT, I was just wondering about the GCW rating you where legal for. I thought that dodge states 26k GCWR and the new 2012s will be 30K with max payload package. How do you get away registering at 40.5K, not that you where anywhere near that in the crash. Do you think DOT would have thought differently about the outcome if your combo was over the 26K mark, or pushing 40K? Id imagine your truck weighed about 10K empty.

Hvytrkmech
03-11-2011, 08:41 AM
Air bag sensors are not just located in the bumper, The ACM has deceleration sensors also. If you have custody of the truck call the State Police and ask if you can have them remove and read the Air bag control module, (or crash box). It contains lots of info. If the State Police can not help you, lawyer up, have the crash box sequestered, and start suing, (not the police). IMHO both airbags should have deployed. The force of the deceleration was enough for your body to hyper extend to the point you face impacted the steering wheel, NOT GOOD. I believe 100% you were wearing you seat belt. You may recover some damages, loss of use, and medical expenses as well as having the vehicle manufacturer fix the problem of non deployment thus helping someone else avoid what you went through.

jhenson
03-11-2011, 09:43 PM
That set of pics brings back some bad memories for me. Glad to see you made it out alive. I hit a cow doing about 60 and while the damage to mine wasn't as bad as yours, it was still disheartening to see my relatively new truck tore up. Hit it so hard the hood came up and broke the windshield, the bumper shoved the fenders back to doors making it difficult to get out...had to shove them open with our legs, and of course the radiator, intercooler, and associated parts were shoved back into the engine. After all of that, my wife said "why the h**l did the airbags not go off?" Then when everything set in, I asked myself the same question. The body shop that sent the $17k bill to the insurance company couldn't even answer that question. Something sounds a little fishy to me. Two trucks with similar damage and no air bag deplyment [nonono]?