Have you ever experienced a sudden feeling of drowsiness when driving in your vehicle? This can be characterized by yawning repeatedly, having trouble keeping your eyes open, having a slowed reaction time, or even drifting out of your own lane. If the answer is yes, you have experienced the common case of driver fatigue, or “Driving While Drowsy” (DWD), a very large concern for many Illinois drivers.
The Illinois Department of Transportation lists DWD as a cause of around 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This not only results in deaths and injuries, but also close to $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Truck drivers are particularly susceptible to driver fatigue because of the long hours they travel each day and into the late hours of the night. A truck accident lawyer at our law firm recently learned that three people were killed and three were injured in an out of state accident after a semi-truck driver fell asleep at the wheel.
KTAL Morning News reported the accident occurred on Monday around 12am when a 48-year-old father and his 10-year-old son were standing outside of their parked mini-van along the eastbound lane of a highway. An oncoming semi-truck, no longer being operated because its driver had fallen asleep, collided with them. The truck then swiped the side of the mini-van, continued down the highway, and finally struck a tree and flipped on its side. The accident claimed the truck driver’s life, as well as the lives of the father and son. Three people inside the mini-van, ages 73, 45, and 13, were all taken to a nearby hospital and were treated for minor injuries.
Though truck drivers face many regulations before driving, such as ensuring they are well rested, all equipment is working properly, and they are not drinking and driving, the semi-truck driver above still suffered from serious driver fatigue and fell asleep at the wheel. It is unfortunate that the accident not only resulted in life altering consequences for the semi-truck driver, but also for two innocent pedestrians that were in the truck’s path.
This accident occurred around midnight, a time when driver exhaustion and fatigue can become a serious cause of distracted driving. Though our attorneys commonly discuss the dangers of drowsy driving for semi-truck drivers, falling asleep behind the wheel can happen to anyone. Drivers at the highest risk for being in an accident due to drowsy driving can include commercial truck drivers, late night shift workers, young drivers, or even parents taking care of young children.
Remember that drowsy driving can affect one’s ability to operate his or her vehicle as much as drinking and driving, as both drastically decrease driver awareness and increase behavior that can lead to accidents. Drowsy driving while alone in your vehicle also increases the risk of being in an accident. If you feel drowsy before entering your vehicle, refrain from driving or allow another individual to drive for you. If any other circumstances arise that could potentially distract you from driving as attentively as possible, use good judgment in determining what actions you can take to remain safe behind the wheel.
Despite many drivers taking the necessary steps to drive safely, accidents unfortunately continue to happen as a result of negligent motorists each and every day. Our law firm understands that the consequences of a trucking accident can be life altering. We represent individuals and families who have suffered from serious injuries or the loss of a loved one due to careless or negligent motorists. Truck accident lawsuits can help compensate accident victims for potential personal injury and medical or property damage expenses sustained as the result of an accident.
Those involved in a car, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident caused by a truck driver’s reckless or negligence behavior may have legal recourse available to them. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of a truck accident, please contact us for more information.