This video shows a terrifying moment as A Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) van on the Dallas North Tollway slams into a line of waiting cars on a ramp. It is astonishing that no deaths have been reported.
The crash left two people injured. DART has released a statement saying that it has concluded that the accident was a “result of the van operator failing to slow with traffic.” The video likely made this the shortest such investigation in history.
One thing that occurred to me in watching this video is how amazing the “crashworthiness” of cars has become. This is an area where liability decisions may have directly influenced new designs. In a line of cases, courts ruled that a car’s “crashworthiness” must be part of the design. Automobile manufacturers argued that a crash is not a proper use of a car and thus should not be part of a consumer’s expectations as to its design and functionality. The courts rejected that argument and imposed liability for design defects for cars that were not designed to protect drivers and passengers in accidents.
The liability here for DART is obvious and extensive. It is a clear case of respondeat superior and obvious negligence. There is no evidence of a medical condition for the driver that would excuse the accident. The driver has been placed on administrative leave.
You can see the level of destruction in the aftermath in the video below: