Imagine you are driving home from a family reunion with your son and all of the sudden a giant truck crosses into your lane. You try to swerve out of the way, but it is no use. The truck hits you and you are instantly killed. Your son is left paralyzed by the catastrophic truck accident.This is what happened to a 47-year-old wife and mother from Ohio. The commercial truck driver who hit her had fallen asleep at the wheel when he struck the family vehicle in his triple-trailer truck. The driver, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced this week to five years in prison.
According to sources, truck drivers can legally drive for up to 11 hours per day. That’s much more than many concerned citizens think is safe. This is on top of the fact that when truckers do sleep, many truck drivers have very poor sleeping conditions, sometimes sleeping in their vehicles.
Another rising concern regarding truck drivers and fatigue is that many of them suffer from untreated sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that’s more common among obese people. Sleep apnea makes it hard to get a good night’s sleep because sufferers stop breathing throughout the night. A bad night of sleep can easily translate into driver fatigue, and when a driver is behind the wheel of a truck, a resulting accident easily turns fatal.
Says the husband and father of the above-mentioned crash victims, “While nothing can bring back my wife or restore my son’s complete health, I want people — the motoring public and truck drivers alike — to know that our roadways are not as safe as we believe them to be.”While the husband did not pursue a wrongful death or personal injury suit following the truck accident, a person in his position could do so in order to send the message that safety changes need to made in the trucking industry. Employers need to hold their drivers to higher standards.
Cockeysville Patch: “Truck Driver Sentenced to 5 Years in Cockeysville Woman’s Death,” Nayana Davis, Jan. 13, 2012