DATE: October 11, 2000
INCIDENT TYPE: Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident
LOCATION: District 7
TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Storm Patrol
THE ACCIDENT: A fatal motor vehicle accident
occurred in District 7 on February 23, 2000. A CHP investigation
into this accident was recently completed. This accident claimed
the life of Caltrans Highway Maintenance Leadworker Charles Deming.
Mr. Deming was working with District 7 Foothill Maintenance crew
on a night-storm patrol operation on SR-39. Due to the storm,
the crew was working 12-hour shifts. Mr. Deming had been training
a new employee to operate a loader that night on the lower portion
of SR-39. At approximately 4:00 AM, Mr. Deming left the loader
operator to check the condition of the upper portion of SR-39.
By 6:00 AM the crew began returning to the Foothill Maintenance
Yard in Monrovia for the scheduled shift change at 7:00 AM. Mr.
Deming did not return to the yard for the shift change. Mr. Deming's
supervisor went to the upper portion of SR-39 to search for Mr.
Deming. At approximately 9:30 AM, his supervisor spotted the wreckage
of an orange Caltrans vehicle at the bottom of a 300-foot deep
canyon. The CHP was notified and they found Mr. Deming deceased
in the wreckage of his vehicle.
CONCLUSIONS: The CHP report about this
accident concluded that Mr. Deming was not wearing his seat belt
and this was the cause of his death.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The California Vehicle
Code and Caltrans policy require that all employees be properly
restrained by a safety belt when operating a vehicle. Caltrans
policy further states that the driver of a vehicle is responsible
for the seat belt usage for all passengers. Since 1994, four Caltrans
employees have been fatally injured in vehicle accidents; two
of those four employees received fatal injuries because they were
not wearing their seat belts.
The Caltrans policy regarding seat belt usage
should be discussed at all Safety Stand Down activities and at
safety meetings. All employees must be reminded of their responsibility
to "buckle up" not only themselves but all passengers
before operating any vehicle.
HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF SAFETY AND HEALTH (916)
This page last updated on February 26, 2002