The accident took place just before 6 a.m. and killed both the driver, a 27 year-old man and his passenger, a 54 year-old man, who was in the sleeping berth at the time of the accident. Both were working for a Florida company hauling cable.
Although the investigation is still underway, police said the driver could have fallen asleep at the wheel, based on eyewitness accounts. Witness told police the driver was making erratic moves prior to the crash and swerved from one side of the roadway to the other, according to the St. Louis Dispatch.
“The semi driver was weaving all over the roadway, drove off the roadway, hit a bridge and rolled over,” said Trooper Calvin Dye of the Illinois State Police. “The passenger was ejected from the sleeper berth and trapped under the semi.”
Fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents since truckers often work long shifts during all hours of the day.
A fatigued truck driver may be unable to gauge their tiredness, and underestimate their ability to drive safely. It is easy for any fatigued driver whether they are behind the wheel of a commercial truck or a passenger vehicle to nod off and lose control of their vehicle, especially if they are traveling at a high rate of speed.
The issue of fatigued driving has long plagued the trucking industry and compelled the federal government to regulate the number of hours it is safe for a trucker to be on the road. Under regulations passed last summer, a truck driver is not allowed to driver for more than 11 hours at a time and they are required to take a 10 hour break in between driving shifts. A truck driver is only allowed to work 60 to 77 hours in a seven-day period or 70 to 88 hours in an eight-day period. If a driver takes two and a half days off, they can start their working week with zero hours.
Violating the hours-of-service rules can cause a serious truck accident but some drivers and trucking companies refuse to adhere to the hours-of-service regulations. If an accident does result from a violation of hours-of-service rules, both the driver and their trucking company can be held responsible for the injuries or deaths that occur as a result.
Truck drivers are required to keep a driver’s log, but in many cases these logs are inaccurate and can be easily falsified so these logs are not necessarily a true indication of how many hours a driver has been on the road. If a fatigued truck driver has been faulted for an accident because of fatigue, a truck accident attorney like Bernard Hoppenfeld, who knows who to conduct a thorough investigation, can help an injury victim of surviving family member seek compensation for their pain and suffering.