Driver Fell Asleep Behind the Wheel of his 18-Wheeler
The driver of a tractor-trailer was lucky to escape serious injuries when he slammed into a barrier wall on Interstate-35W during the early morning hours Thursday. The auto accident occurred at 2:45 a.m. and continued to snarl Thursday’s morning rush hour traffic while crews cleared the crash. I35W near the split to Highway 121 remained partly closed until almost noon with only one lane allowing vehicles to creep by the accident scene. The trailer was carrying 38,000 pounds of frozen Brussels sprouts, which had to be unloaded before the truck could be up-righted by a large crane and towed away. (Great — who wants to eat those any way?)
The big-rig spun out of control on the wet roads, hit the guardrail and flipped onto its side. The roads were slick with rainwater at the time. However, weather is not being cited as the cause of the 18-wheeler crash. Instead, investigators believe that the driver fell asleep at the wheel before losing control of the big-rig.
Hours of Service Rules Are Crucial to Keep Drivers Safe
Hours of service rules
limit the number of hours truck drivers are permitted to work and to
drive during a given workweek. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) strengthened these rules last year to address the serious risks caused by sleepy drivers to motorists and to the truck
Unfortunately, lawmakers suspended these crucial hours of service rules when they enacted the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015
on December 16, 2014. The suspension was slipped into the budget bill in response to lobbying efforts by corporations affected by the hours of service.
Corporations make more money by transporting goods to their
intended destinations as quickly as possible. These companies often put
profits ahead of safety and have little incentive to pay drivers for
rest periods or delay delivery so drivers can catch up on their sleep.
Drivers often are not in a position to tell their bosses no when asked
to drive long distances under tight deadlines, and so may get behind the wheel despite feeling dangerously exhausted and sleep-deprived.
FMCSA hours of service rules are necessary to force corporations
to act in a safe manner and to give drivers legal standing for refusing
to drive while sleepy. Lawmakers jeopardize our safety and our economic
security by suspending these important rules.
Thursday’s accident could have turned into tragedy had a motorist been
in the path of the tractor-trailer. Likewise, the driver was fortunate
that the crash did not kill him or cause more serious injuries.
Besides the human toll, tractor-trailer accidents cause economic
damage to Texas communities. Thousands of people were delayed getting to work on Thursday morning and the produce being transported may be lost.
In addition, Fort Worth had to pay substantial sums of money clearing
the wreck from the highway. Let’s hope lawmakers reverse this bad
Recover for Injuries Sustained in a Tractor-Trailer Crash
Berenson Law Firm has successfully represented victims of tractor-trailer accidents
for almost 35 years. Call our office at 817-885-8000 or toll-free at
1-888-801-8585 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your
18-wheeler accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.