Totally Out of Control

 First responders cover their ears as injured cattle are shot inside an overturned semi cab pulling a cattle trailer that crashed on Highway 126 near Cedar Flat Road east of Springfield. (Brian Davies/The Register-Guard)Everything rises and falls on leadership. John Maxwell

Totally Out of Control

The cattle truck driver who crashed on Highway 126 on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen cows, was speeding when he failed to negotiate a curve, authorities said Wednesday.

He was cited for failing to drive within a lane, state police said.

According to court records, he has had a number of driving violations during the last decade. He twice was convicted of speeding in 2011, which resulted in the state Department of Motor Vehicles suspending his license.

In August, a man filed a claim against . . . him and his employer (at the time), alleging damages when he was hit by their truck. The lawsuit seeks at least $100,000.

The truck with trailer turned onto its side after shearing a tree and striking a power pole, trapping and killing a number of cattle in Tuesday’s crash. A crew had to remove downed power lines at the crash scene.

Additionally, a state police trooper fatally shot 12 of the injured cows that could not be saved. (The Register-Guard)

 Safety is a Choice

Why anyone would hire a driver with a bad driving record, a previous license suspension, and who brought grief to himself and his previous employer?

Did the driver lie about his driving history or withhold information?

Did the cattle hauler (yes – this was a cattle-hauler, livestock hauling is their specialty) properly vet the driver? Did they do a background check? Do they have hiring standards or a safety program in place?

What went wrong?

I have the utmost respect for cattle-haulers. It’s a tough and thankless job and requires a lot of driving skill and finesse. A cattle-hauler has to be a very good driver, a really special person.

But a tougher job is that of the first responders that have to clean up the messes that — in many cases — should have never happened. Many first-responders are volunteers. They only want to help their communities. But they are the ones who have to deal with the carnage, broken bodies, and the many horrors and aftermaths of the bad drivers and employers who made bad choices.

We can do better than this . . . We have to.

Thank you for reading this.

 Related: Driver Behaviors as Predictors of Crashes