The Tennessee Highway Patrol stated that the truck driver was traveling east on I-24 in Marion County Tennessee when he crossed into oncoming traffic at 2:30 am. The truck slammed into another tractor trailer, sparked a large fire and killed both truck drivers. A third big rig and an SUV also were involved; at least one driver or passenger in those vehicles also was injured.
The highway patrol also stated that the driver of the truck that crossed the median was Chidule Jackson, 54. The driver of the truck he hit head on was Michael Lee Cardin, 60.
Drug and alcohol tests have been ordered to determine if Jackson was under the influence.
Thousands of fatal truck crashes occur annually, with 3852 occurring in 2015. Driver fatigue is often a major factor. As tractor trailer crash personal injury attorneys in Virginia and North Carolina, we want to urge truck drivers to be sure that they are adequately rested before driving. We do not know for certain that driver fatigue caused this deadly truck crash in Tennessee. However, given the fact that it occurred at 2:30 am, falling asleep behind the wheel is definitely possible.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that the Large Truck Crash Causation Study recently found that 13% of truck drivers were believed to have been fatigued when they were involved in a truck crash.
The FMCSA also recommends the following safety tips for truck drivers:
- Get adequate sleep before driving. If possible, truck drivers should avoid driving between 12-6 am, which is when the human body is naturally drowsy. If you do get sleepy while driving, you should pull over immediately in a safe area. The agency also reports that driver alertness is more related to the time of day or night, rather than how long drivers have been driving.
- Eat a healthy diet. Skipping meals or eating at odd times can lead to getting tired while driving. Also, going to bed with an empty stomach or right after eating a big meal can make it hard to sleep. The FMCSA has found that an unhealthy lifestyle including working long hours and poor eating habits increases chances of falling asleep while driving.
- Take a nap. A nap of just 20 minutes can make you much more alert and keep you and others safe while you are driving your rig.
Our personal injury attorneys know what happens when truck drivers fall asleep behind the wheel. Our $5.5 million truck crash settlement case in Virginia Beach involved a truck driver who fell asleep while driving and smashed into our clients’ car at a stop light. Their children in the backseat suffered severe head injuries. Driving while drowsy can be deadly in a big rig. Never do it.