A wreck between a tractor trailer and a tanker truck on the Baltimore, Maryland Beltway shut down the highway Wednesday night.
Local police reported a big rig driver fell asleep and hit the rear of a fuel tanker at 10:45 PM. This ignited a fire in the big rig that shut down all lanes of I-695. The driver of the truck was taken to a local hospital with serious injures that were not life threatening. No one else was injured.
Our truck accident attorneys are relieved that no one apparently suffered life threatening injuries in this serious, rear end truck crash.
During the economic downturn, truck related deaths hit an all time low in 2009, when truck crashes killed 3380 people. But as the US economy has improved, there have been more truck accidents. In 2013, there were 3964 people killed in truck accidents. This was an increase of 17% in four years.
As more truck accidents are happening, more truckers are falling asleep behind the wheel. The above accident is especially alarming; the tanker could have exploded and led to serious loss of life.
For years, there has been growing evidence that sleep apnea is very common in truck drivers. The airway of people with the disorder close when they sleep. This can interrupt their sleep many times per hour. They may not notice that they wake up, but they can end up exhausted after they had what they thought was a full night’s sleep. When truckers fall asleep while driving, the accidents can be truly awful.
Our tractor trailer personal injury attorneys worked a case in Virginia Beach where a dozing truck driver rear ended a small car at a stop sign. The two children in the rear seat suffered head injuries. One of them only had a concussion and she recovered. Unfortunately, the other had serious injuries to her frontal lobe and bleeding in the brain. While the girl was able to recover somewhat, she did suffer significant brain damage that led to serious deficits for the rest of her life. Our attorneys settled this serious rear end truck crash case with a dozing driver for $5.5 million, with a structured annuity that will pay out $21 million over the years.