On July 5, 2013, just after 10 p.m., a semi driver suffered a medical condition that left him unconscious, posing a significant threat to highway safety. As a result, a chain-reaction accident occurred on I-805 in National City, California. According to California Highway Patrol officials, the accident involved one semi and three passenger vehicles.
Reportedly, a 29-year-old Tijuana man was the driver of the semi, a 2005 Kenworth. The driver, whose name has not been released, suffered a medical condition and fell unconscious behind the wheel. The semi stalled in the third lane and was struck by a 2008 Ford Ranger, driven by a 31-year-old woman, who didn’t see the semi in time to avoid a collision.
Officials stated that the Ford Ranger spun into the other lanes and was struck by a 2011 Volkswagen. The Volkswagen was then rear-ended by a 1999 Toyota Tacoma. The semi driver was transported to Sharp Chula Vista Hospital and, within a short time, was pronounced dead. The driver of the Ranger was transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital with major injuries. Her condition is currently unknown, but the drivers of the other two vehicles were not injured.
One of the uninjured drivers reported that he saw the disabled semi in the third lane and its lights were off. Details on the semi driver’s medical condition were not released and the accident is under investigation.
New federal trucking regulations set to go into effect in May, 2014, could reduce the occurrence of accidents like this, though without knowing what medical condition caused the accident, officials can’t be sure. These new regulations will require many commercial-license-holding truckers to obtain their physicals from properly certified physicians. Trucking regulations previously allowed these exams to be performed by a multitude of providers, from medical doctors to chiropractors.
In many instances, a driver that was denied their medical card by a physician because of medical issues could go to other physicians until they found one that would approve them, perhaps because he or she did not fully understand the Department of Transportation’s requirements.