Three people are dead after a tragic trucking accident that resulted from a semi driver falling asleep at the wheel. The accident occurred in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, along I-20. According to Sergeant George Beck, of the Louisiana State Police Troop G, a mini-van that was parked along the highway was struck by the semi.
Reportedly, Miguel Salas, 48, and Miguel Moreno, 10, were standing outside the van on the passenger side after Moreno became sick. The eastbound truck struck Salas and Moreno and side-swiped the van. The semi continued down the highway for a short distance before hitting a tree and turning over onto its side. The driver of the semi was also killed. His name will not be released until his family has been contacted.
There were three other people inside the van, Ma’Angel Amaya, 73, Juana Salas, 45, and Luis Salas, 13. They were treated for minor injuries at Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston, LA. According to police officials, Juana Salas is the wife and mother to Miguel Salas and Miguel Moreno. All of the van’s occupants were from Lillington, North Carolina.
New federal trucking regulations, announced on July 1, 2013 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, were aimed at preventing exactly this type of trucking accident. Under the new regulations, the maximum average work week was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours per week and requires drivers to rest for 34 consecutive hours before returning to work after reaching this limit. In addition, the new hours-of-service rule requires drivers to take one, 30-minute break during the first eight hours of any shift.
Though some semi-drivers have expressed disappointment in the new trucking regulations, accidents like this one highlight the need for such rules to protect innocent victims from fatigued drivers. It is currently unknown whether or not this driver was following the new hours-of-service rule and, if not, if it was his own decision to break the rule or the trucking company’s.