When a semi truck crashes with a car, SUV or pickup truck, we typically see serious injuries suffered by the motorist but not the semi truck driver. The extreme weight differential is simply too great. But what happens when two tractor trailers crash?
In Wisconsin recently, two semi trucks crashed on I-94 in St. Croix County near Hudson. The driver of one of the semis suffered injuries. The accident is being investigated.
According to news sources, the accident happened at 8:43 on a Monday morning. Both tractor trailers were traveling eastbound at the time of the accident. A semi driven by a 64-year-old man reportedly sideswiped a semi driven by a 43-year-old man. The impact caused the 64-year-old truck driver to veer towards the median, where he hit the cement barrier and his tractor trailer overturned.
The 64-year-old was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were described as non life-threatening. The 43-year-old driver was not reported as being injured.
At first glance it may seem as though the 64-year-old driver may have caused the accident although that is not necessarily the case. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has interesting information which could shed some light on any accident involving two tractor trailers.
- Trucking was unionized until the 1980s but today is less that 15 percent unionized.
- Truck driver wages have fallen 30 percent since 19080, leading to longer driving hours to make up the difference.
- In a 7 day week, truckers can work 84 hour without breaking any laws.
- Daytime truckers sleep an average of 4.78 hours per night and nighttime drivers average 3.83 hours of sleep.
- Sleep deprivation can cause sleep apnea, obesity, diabetes and neurobehavioral impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.10 percent.
- 25 percent of long-distance truck drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel in the past year.
The accident that occurred would be during morning rush hour for most people, but could have come at the end of an overnight shift for either of the two truck drivers. If there was negligence involved in the accident on the part of the 43-year-old driver, or equipment failure, the 64-year-old could seek compensation for his personal injuries.
Source: WQOW 18, "Eau Claire man injured in two-semi crash near Hudson," July 9, 2012
At our La Crosse law firm we represent those with personal injuries suffered in truck accidents such as that described in this posting.