A man who suffered serious injuries following the harrowing 2019 New Hampshire motorcycle crash filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The pickup truck driver pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter, and driving under the influence. The driver admitted that he was suffering from a drug problem and regularly used heroin and cocaine; however, he denied impairment at the time of the accident. However, toxicology revealed that the driver had fentanyl, morphine, and a chemical commonly found in cocaine, in his system. The crash took the lives of seven motorcyclists when the pickup truck driver drifted across the double yellow line and slammed into the lead motorcyclist.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation points to several individual and systemic failures in the deadly crash. In addition to the driver’s impairment, the report also blamed Massachusetts for permitting the driver to continue driving, despite a lengthy history of serious traffic violations. The NTSB chairman stated that a series of avoidable failures contributed to the incident.
The Chairman stated that the collision was a preventable event that involved multiple contributing factors such as driver impairment, employer negligence, and DMV recordkeeping failure. Accident reconstructionists found that the driver, whose license was suspended in Connecticut, most likely drifted lanes due to his impairment. Moreover, the NTSB points to the driver’s employer, finding that they failed to conduct a federally-mandated background check on him. Further, an investigation revealed that the company routinely altered driver logs. Finally, court documents establish that the Massachusetts RMV failed to process a notice Connecticut sent indicating that the state suspended the pickup truck driver’s license.