Driver fatigue can be a problem on the road for all drivers but, for drivers of 18 wheelers, the consequences can be fatal. Recently, a series of truck accidents led to the deaths of an entire family moving to California.

First, a truck driver died when he crashed into a stalled vehicle on the side of a highway. Next, as emergency crews were responding to that accident, a second truck driver failed to slow down as he approached the first accident and he crashed into a stopped car. A chain reaction killed the occupants of two separate cars.

Authorities investigating the crash found that the driver of the second truck had driven for 13 to 15 hours, which is in violation of laws that limit the number of hours commercial drivers can work without rest breaks. Investigators believe the driver was asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident. The driver of the big rig has been charged with four counts of manslaughter, and five counts of motor vehicle homicide.

Highway accidents involving 18 wheelers can be more devastating than accidents involving other vehicles because big rigs can weight more than twice the weight of a passenger vehicle, potentially resulting in much more serious, or even fatal, injuries. Additionally, the type of freight carried by the big rig can increase the danger, particularly if the truck is carrying hazardous chemicals.

While the number of fatal highway accidents involving big rig trucks has gone down in recent years, big rig crashes still account for a substantial amount of injuries and deaths each year in California.

Source: Nebraska Radio Network, "Trucker charged in I-80 deaths likely was asleep at the wheel," Sept. 24, 2012.

Our law firm represents victims of car and truck accidents in California obtain compensation to which they may be entitled for physical, emotional and financial losses caused.