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Driver fatigue probable cause for truck, school bus collision

An especially frightening collision between a school bus and a truck demonstrates again the acute hazard posed by truck driver fatigue. No one can estimate the percentage of truck drivers on California freeways and highways who are driving while seriously sleep deprived or otherwise suffering from fatigue, but no one doubts that many drivers drive without necessary sleep or breaks. The truck accident in question occurred in Washington state, but it could just as easily happened in California - or any other state.

The multi-vehicle accident occurred when a large box truck crossed the centerline of a country highway and hit a passenger car and a school bus. The driver of the car died at the scene, and a passenger in the car was treated for crash injuries at a local hospital. Forty-three students who were passengers on the bus were examined at a local hospital but sent home. A hospital nurse described the injuries as mostly "bumps and bruises" although a few students were treated for fractures. One deputy sheriff with 30 years of experience said the crash was the worst accident he had seen in his career.

State police at the accident scene said that the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of the truck. This conclusion is especially striking in view of the fact that the accident occurred at 8:00 a.m. The police are continuing to investigate whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.

Truck driver fatigue is a frequent cause of highway accidents. Even though federal regulations require interstate truck drivers to rest for prescribed periods, the rules are often ignored, sometimes at the instruction of the driver's supervisor. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident should consult an attorney familiar with truck driver fatigue and its role in causing serious accidents. A lawyer with experience in such cases can evaluate the facts and provide an estimate of the chances of success in pursuing such a claim.

Source: KTTV Los Angeles, "Officials: Truck driver fell asleep in fatal collision," March 5, 2015

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