A Horrific Semi-Truck Accident
A 25-year-old truck driver who had been driving for an extended period fell asleep at the wheel. The semi-truck veered onto the left shoulder where an Illinois state trooper was parked. The truck slammed into the squad card, the squad car erupted in flames and the trooper died before help could arrive.
There was no indication of alcohol or drug usage, only driver fatigue, so the driver was initially charged with improper lane usage, a relatively minor infraction. The state, however, has since dismissed that charge and is pursuing stronger charges due to a level of driver fatigue that it perceives to be negligent.
Increasing Awareness Of Role Of Driver Fatigue In Accidents
Unfortunately, this incident is not an isolated one in Illinois and in states throughout the country. Driver fatigue is a significant problem that leads to many lethal accidents. State troopers are not always the victims of these incidents, but they represent a large population because of how often they are in harm’s way, such as parked on a shoulder or median.
Laws and Enforcement
Many agree that the existing laws and the enforcement of those laws are inadequate. Unless there is alcohol, drugs or some other form of easily identified negligence involved, little can be done much of the time. Fatigue is difficult to prove, and even when it is provable, the law does not view it as harshly as it does other forms of negligence. However, statistics show that driving while tired can be just as serious as driving while intoxicated.
Stricter Measures are Necessary
It is very difficult to detect tired drivers before an incident occurs; therefore, measures must be preemptive. There must be stricter regulation and enforcement for trucking companies. If a trucker hurts someone or causes property damaged due to tiredness, then society must hold the company employing him or her accountable as well. One of the hurdles to achieving this is the sheer number of independent contractors in this industry.
What are Your Rights Following A Truck Wreck?
If you’re a victim of a commercial truck accident that occurred because the at-fault driver was tired, seek out a lawyer for help. You may have a right to additional damages, and if the driver is a professional driver, then you may have a right to damages from the companies that he or she was working for.