Semis Loaded with Pigs Overturn in Two States

At least three semi-trailer accidents involving trucks loaded with pigs have occurred in the last seven days. It’s an issue that producers need to be aware of to make sure your vehicles aren’t involved in a tragic collision.

Last weekend near Mingo, Iowa, a semi-truck carrying dozens of hogs ran a stop sign and smashed into an SUV, Iowa State Patrol officials said. According to the report, the crash happened at an intersection considered especially dangerous, as a number of accidents have occurred there.

“This intersection is in the process of being redone, and we’ve been out here several times in the last several years for this very type of accident,” said Sgt. David Halverson, with the Iowa State Patrol, in a report from KCCI television.

State patrol troopers said the semi-truck was southbound on Highway 65 when it ran a stop sign while crossing Highway 330, smashing into the car going southwest. Watch the video about the accident and read the full article here.

On Thursday this week, another semi-trailer loaded with pigs collided with an Iowa Department of Transportation plow near Pella, Iowa, news reports stated.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, the DOT had crews working on the shoulder just past the exit ramp when the semi traveling westbound struck the back of the DOT vehicle. The semi came apart as it came to a rest in the median, with the cab detaching from the trailer.

The pigs that survived the impact were transported into another semi to get to their destination.

In Florida, another truck accident sent pigs wandering along the shoulder of the highway, the New York Daily News reported.

The early morning accident set the pigs loose in eastern Florida.

Photo courtesy of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

The semi-trailer carrying the pigs collided with another truck. Pigs fell into a muddy area made worse by heavy rains the night before, the local sheriff’s department said in a Facebook post.

The accident occurred about 4 a.m. on the southbound side of I-95 close to the border of St. Johns and Flagler counties, local news channel WJXT reported.

Why So Many Accidents?
It’s difficult to get a handle on why these accidents are occurring. Are drivers inexperienced? Are they given proper training in empty as well as full trucks? Are they fatigued? Are they distracted? It’s frustrating to see another driver texting while driving, but it’s alarming when that driver is in a semi. A passenger vehicle weighs an average of 4,000 lbs., while an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs.

It may be a combination of the above.

The GTG Technology Group says there are five primary causes of semi-trailer accidents:

Driver Error: Truck drivers make mistakes like other drivers. They may be drowsy, distracted, careless, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, studies show the majority of trucking accidents caused by driver error are due to the passenger vehicle driver (81%), not the trucker (22%). This calls for a need to improve trucker defensive driving techniques, such as keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, being patient with slower or reckless drivers, and using turn signals.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance: To keep up with the immense wear and tear on these vehicles, trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance crews must regularly maintain the fleet. Equipment failure, such as worn brake pads or a cracked windshield, can cause a major traffic accident. It’s a driver’s responsibility to check his/her rig at the beginning of every shift and submit a vehicle maintenance report. Failure to do so can be fatal.

Equipment Failure: Poor fleet maintenance isn’t the only thing that can cause a truck’s equipment to fail at a dangerous moment. Equipment manufacturers may be guilty of negligence during a part’s production, leading to defective or dangerous components. Parties that may be liable for defective parts in a trucking accident include the parts manufacturer, truck manufacturer, trucking company that sold the truck, and the installer/mechanic who made part repairs.

Inclement Weather: Poor weather can throw a trucker for a loop if he or she is not adequately trained and prepared to drive in certain conditions. Rain, snow, and ice can be especially tricky, due to the heavy weight and slower stopping speeds of the vehicle. Truckers need to travel at an appropriate speed for all conditions and learn proper braking techniques to avoid skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing.

Improper Cargo Loading or Shifting: There are specific weight, size, length, width, and height limits to a load. Emerging technologies such as telematics, sensors, and real-time monitoring and data analytics can help combat the issues that most commonly cause trucking accidents. Trucking companies can monitor driver behavior and vehicle conditions, preventing accidents before they occur.

Your braking time increases significantly when you are towing a full trailer, so maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and leave adequate room to stop. Plan your travel time carefully, and be aware that weather can cause delays by impacting road conditions and animal comfort.

Do not lock the trailer when you are transporting animals. In the event of an emergency, rescue workers need to be able to get animals out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

More information on trailer safety is available at: