As a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I was dismayed but not surprised to see a report about an accident that the Missouri Highway Patrol has attributed to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, an 18-wheeler turned over on Interstate 70 May 9, after the driver fell asleep and drifted off the road. The accident took place at around 2:45 p.m. near mile marker 119, closing eastbound lanes until around 4 p.m. and briefly closing one westbound lane as well. Fortunately, driver Dejaun Green of Maryland suffered only moderate injuries and no one else was hurt. The truck was totaled, according to reports, but no other vehicles were involved.
The Missouri Highway Patrol report said Green, 32, fell asleep at the wheel. Another trucker who happened to be traveling behind Green at the time said he saw Green’s truck easing over to the right more and more as it traveled. Green woke up when his truck hit an embankment, but he overcorrected, causing him to lose control and overturn on the road itself. The truck flipped onto its side, tearing up parts of the embankment and spilling its load of frozen chickens. Passers-by kicked out the front window and cut Green’s seatbelt in an attempt to pull him from the truck, but were not successful until the Highway Patrol arrived at the scene. Emergency crews later cleared the cargo from the road and contained a dangerous fuel spill from the wrecked truck. Though no one else was involved in the crash, a woman stuck in the backed-up traffic suffered a stroke and was taken to the hospital.
Falling asleep at the wheel is one of the most serious concerns about truck drivers for Missouri big rig accident attorneys like me. In fact, it’s a national concern, which is why the federal government has made rules especially intended to fight driver fatigue. Truckers are often pressured to make delivery schedules that are just not realistic, or that don’t allow for the kinds of delays that most drivers find inevitable, for things like traffic or bad weather. If they don’t make those schedules, they lose money and may even suffer penalties at work. As a result, some drivers are pressured to drive for long hours every day or skip breaks. This robs them of rest they truly need – rest that can prevent them from becoming so fatigued they can’t operate their huge machines safely. That’s why the federal government requires all truck drivers to conform to specific hours of service.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for truckers, or their trucking companies, to falsify their records to make it look at if they complied with their hours of service even when they did not. When truck drivers and their employers break the law, or pressure others to break it, they are legally liable for any injuries or damages that results from the illegal and negligent behavior. That includes all injuries and property damage from the accident itself, all future medical costs, wrongful death damages and other costs. In this case, that could include any injuries created by delays in treatment for the woman who suffered the stroke. If your family suffered this kind of injury because of someone else’s bad decisions – on or off the road – you should call our southern Illinois semi truck accident lawyers right away for a free consultation.
Carey, Danis & Lowe focuses its practice on representing clients who suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one because of negligence by truck drivers and trucking companies. If you’d like to tell us your story and learn about your legal rights, call us today for a free consultation at 1-877-678-3400 or send us a message online.
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