R. Scott King, BSME, Principal Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::
A commercial semi-trailer detached from its tractor and came to rest within the roadway, blocking several travel lanes. Before the tractor-trailer operator could place her reflective warning devices on the roadway, the operator of an oncoming passenger vehicle approaching the detached trailer steered sharply to avoid it and in doing so, lost control of her vehicle resulting in significant injuries to herself and the occupants within the vehicle. A post-incident investigation revealed the tractor-trailer combination had recently departed its terminal and traveled several miles before detaching. Police investigators concluded that the sole cause of the separation was that the operator failed to properly connect the tractor and trailer before departing for the trip. Forensic engineers, however, came to a more detailed conclusion.