A catastrophic accident involving two commercial trucks occurred on Highway I-80 in Utah, near Tooele County on October 19. News sources report that the 3:00 am collision involved a flat-bed trailer hauling military equipment and a FedEx truck. When the eastbound trailer crashed into the median of the highway, its cargo (a large military vehicle) flew off into the westbound lane, where the westbound Fed Ex truck collided with it and then burst into flames. Two people were killed and one person was injured. The damage from the crash and subsequent fire was so extensive that parts of I-80 will need to be re-paved.
It goes without saying that trucking accidents rarely result in minor damages. The size, bulk and nature of the vehicles always present a high risk of devastating incidents. This is the reason that truckers and trucking companies are required by law to adhere to a set of guidelines and rules for safety. Click this link to view a comprehensive list of safety regulations from the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (“FMCSA”). These cover everything from vehicle safety standards to special training and licensing requirements, down to how much sleep a driver is required to have before operating a commercial truck.
Indeed, a new study coming out of the Sleep Disorder Centers in Italy suggests that truck drivers with the condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are 4.75 times more likely to be involved in near-miss accidents than non-OSA drivers. OSA, which is more prevalent in men and commonly linked with obesity, involves the collapse of the airway during sleep, leading to poor quality rest at night and drowsiness, fatigue and hypertension problems in the daytime. The study also showed that treatment for OSA significantly reduced the likelihood of near-miss incidents to the level of non-OSA truck drivers. There is now serious consideration being given to mandatory OSA testing for commercial vehicle operators in the U.S.
Sleep disorder testing aside, unfortunately not all trucking companies are diligent about enforcing the regulations and standards of safety that are already in place, and everyone on the road – including other responsible commercial vehicle drivers – can suffer the consequences. These consequences will typically involve severe injuries and death, along with financial and mental health problems for survivors, upending the victim’s life significantly.
If you or a family member have been the victim of a trucking accident, you have options available. We have represented numerous people in such cases, in Utah and elsewhere. Find out more about our practice here, and get in touch with us for a free consultation if you have been involved in a no-fault trucking accident.