Carolina News 14 has reported that another distracted tractor trailer driver has caused a trucking accident that resulted in a fatality. State Troopers said a distracted semi truck driver is to blame for the death of a 21-year-old Department of Transportation worker in Duplin County. The tractor trailer hit the worker while he was setting up a work zone.
The semi truck driver said he took his eyes off the road for "just a second" before veering off the road and pinning the worker between two vehicles. The trucker now faces several charges, including misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Our thoughts and prayer go out to the family, friends and love ones of this young man. His death is made even more tragic in knowing that it could have been avoided if the truck driver had simply been paying attention.
Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions. Just days ago, three people were killed in Illinois when a semi truck driver caused a 9-vehicle crash because he was looking at a map while he was driving.
On June 2, 2010, another distracted eighteen wheeler driver killed two people in Missouri when he took his eyes off road and could not slow his semi truck in time.
Did you know that a distracted tractor trailer driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or close call? That is precisely why, earlier this year, the US government officially banned semi truck drivers and bus drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel.
One of the deadliest distracted truck driving crashes occurred in Kentucky where a semi truck driver was using his cell phone at or near the time when his eighteen wheeler crossed the median and crashed into a van, killing 11 people on board.
Closely related to distractions is driver fatigue.
Driver fatigue is a particularly dangerous — and completely preventable — cause of trucking accidents. Nearly 15 years ago, the NTSB issued a report warning of truck driver fatigue dangers.
The NTSB found that trucker fatigue was a contributing factor in 30%-40% of all diesel truck accidents. The NTSB found that proper sleep patterns are imperative for truck driver safety. Truckers must get 8 hours of continuous sleep after driving for 10 hours or after being on duty for 15 hours for proper safety.
The NTSB just recently issued a warning that truck drivers should also be screened for a medical condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea denies people the rest they need, and it has been found to be a factor in incident involving every transportation mode, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in letters.
Too many people have been killed by semi truck crashes and trucking accidents. Nationwide, large trucks (known as tractor trailers, semi trucks, eighteen wheelers, diesel, big rigs, or commercial trucks) make up only about 3% of the vehicles on the road. However, they account for far more traffic fatalities. For example, in Missouri, semi truck crashes make up as much as 15% of traffic deaths. In Illinois, tractor trailer crashes cause more than 10% of traffic deaths.
Trucking companies and truck drivers need to make sure that crashes like this one stop happening. If drivers need to make a phone call or get directions, they should pull over and make sure they aren’t putting innocent motorists at risk.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.