Recently, our Illinois semi truck accident lawyers read an article on Kens5.com detailing a semi truck accident victim’s account of the deadly accident that took the life of her husband. The accident, which occurred in May of 2010, transpired when the women and her husband were traveling along an interstate highway when they had come to a stop in a construction zone. The semi truck traveling behind the couple failed to notice the reduced speed and slammed into the back of their vehicle while traveling at a speed of 65 mph. The woman’s husband suffered severe brain injury as a result of the accident and died a few days later.
During the accident investigation process, it was discovered that the driver of the commercial vehicle had been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea two months prior to the fatal collision. Given the increasing epidemic of semi truck drivers with sleep apnea, in addition to, the shocking statistics of accidents caused by truck driver sleep apnea, the accident victim’s widow created a foundation to help garner nationwide attention towards this prevalent issue. The mission of the foundation is to “promote and/or improve public awareness of the sleep apnea problem in the commercial motor vehicle industry.” The foundation’s overall goal is to ensure the future safety of our roadways, as well as, encourage the trucking industry to establish and administer programs that identifies and treats sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is defined as a disorder in which an individual exhibits one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep – according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. This chronic condition significantly disrupts the sufferer’s sleep and causes poor sleep quality. One of the most substantial side effects of the disorder is ongoing daytime fatigue. When the driver of an 80,000 pound commercial vehicle is diagnosed with this condition, it can pose a significant threat to safe operation. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, up to 28% of all licensed commercial vehicle drivers have sleep apnea.
Our truck accident attorneys in Chicago encourage trucking companies and their drivers to help prevent, as well as, decrease the increasing epidemic of semi truck accidents caused by driver sleep apnea. When the unsafe operation of a large commercial vehicle causes a fatal accident, such as this one, victims may be able to obtain legal relief. If you or a loved one has been involved in an Illinois semi truck accident, please contact an Illinois truck accident attorney to see what legal rights may be available to you.