As a truck accident and personal injury attorney, I have spent more than 20 years documenting the tragedy that driver fatigue, distracted driving and negligence cause on our roads. My work to protect the rights of my clients requires that I learn the intimate details of how my clients and their loved ones have suffered as a result of being injured or killed in a truck crash. Sadly, I know all too well the devastation that a truck accident can visit upon a family for the days, weeks, months and even years that follow.
In recent months, there has been an increasing amount of press coverage on how dangerous and deadly these 80,000-pound tractor-trailers can be. I welcome the growing scrutiny on the trucking industry and the improved safety that it is likely to bring. Yes, the trucking industry is such an important and integral part of our economy. That’s exactly why we need to make it as safe as we can. The big trucks are needed to get goods from the factories and farms to our stores and shops — yet they must do so in a way that does not kill thousands of people every year.
Destroying Two Families in His Sleep
In September 2014, Bloomberg News published a deeply moving story about a horrific truck crash, caused by the truck driver falling asleep at the wheel, that killed a mother and which left one of her sons with severe and permanent injuries. The journalists, David Voreacos and Jeff Plungis, covered the story of the people — real people — and the facts of the case with such depth that it made it very easy for those not immediately effected by a deadly truck crash to understand the pain and suffering that follows such crashes. The article, Trucker in Massive Rig Destroys Two Families in His Sleep, is a must read for anyone who drives in America today.
Bloomberg Visual Data: The Truck Crash Explored
In a piece related to the above article, the folks at Bloomberg Visual Data created a series of powerful infographics detailing the specific facts and figures around that accident.
A Severe Lack of Sleep
A key fact in the case is the truck driver’s lack of sleep. According the truck accident investigation, the truck took only a 3 hour and 20 minute nap before starting out on a 520 mile journey.
A String of Trailers 100 Feet Long
The tractor-trailer combination that the truck driver was operating is so massive that it is only allowed to operate on two highways in Indiana and Ohio. Many states east of the Mississippi River ban the trucks entirely.
The truck was a three-tailored setup spanning 100 feet and weighing 78,000 pounds. That’s more than 25 times the weight of the victim’s car.
More Must Be Done
As is painfully clear from the stories of the driver and his victims, this sort of truck crash cannot be allowed to happen again. As a society, as a country, as people, we must work together to improve the safety of the trucking industry. Through my work with APITLA, my role on the Trucking Litigation Group at the American Association for Justice, and as a truck accident lawyer, I am committed to making the trucking industry safer sooner, rather than later.