Sleep deprivation is a serious issue among big rig drivers. Although there is a set number of hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel during any given shift, still, drivers find themselves falling asleep or nodding off. In Baltimore, a crash recently occurred between a tractor-trailer and a tanker because the driver of the tractor-trailer fell asleep at the wheel. The Baltimore Sun reported that the trucker was driving on Interstate 695 near Liberty Road around 10:40 p.m. when he fell asleep and crashed into the rear of a fuel tanker.
Luckily, Jermon Bryant, 30, who was driving the tractor-trailer, was able to escape his vehicle before it caught fire and was transported to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the tanker remained uninjured. Maryland Department of Environment also arrived on scene and reported that no fuel was spilled from the tanker. The accident did cause traffic on the inner loop to divert onto Liberty Road overnight, however, officials had the lanes on I-695 back open around 5:25 a.m.
Was the trucker driving for a longer period than he was permitted?
One of the first things investigators question when they arrive on the scene of a truck accident involving a commercial vehicle is whether or not the trucker was sleep deprived because they had been working a longer shift than they were legally permitted to work. However, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police confirmed that Bryant was within his permitted hours of drive time, which is a max of 11 hours within a 14-hour shift. Still, charges are pending as police work to determine why Bryant fell asleep [Source: ABC 2 News].
While no one was severely injured or killed in this accident, one trucking safety advocate had something to say about it. Ed Slattery, who lost his wife to a fatal accident caused by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel and left his son critically injured, said these circumstances only make it more difficult to be safe. We have already seen an increase by nearly 30% in fatalities caused by large trucks on U.S. roadways since 2009 and injuries have increased by 57%.
The group Slattery joined works to combat against sleep-deprived truck drivers in an effort to help reduce the number of these accidents. The fact is, if we don’t continue to recognize that there is a real issue here, it won’t get solved and more and more lives could be affected. Although it will take more than just one small organization to spread awareness and fight for change, victims themselves can take action by hiring a Baltimore truck accident lawyer.
Victims of truck accidents caused by sleep-deprived drivers are encouraged to contact a Baltimore truck crash attorney who can help them recover compensatory and punitive damages.
Baltimore, MD truck accident attorneys have the ability to file suit and demand damages be paid, both punitive and compensatory. When a trucker and/or the company they work for are reprimanded and forced to pay for the pain they caused a victim to suffer from, there is a greater chance they might begin to make the necessary modifications within their company so that these types of accidents don’t ever happen again.
If you are the victim of a commercial truck accident and would like to speak with a truck crash lawyer in Baltimore, USAttorneys.com is here to help you.