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Sleeping truck driver involved in fatal collision

Many Connecticut residents are aware that driver fatigue is a serious concern for both trucking companies and government regulators. The scope of the problem was demonstrated when a box truck struck a car and school bus in Washington on March 5. A 22-year-old woman lost her life in the crash, and 43 children were hospitalized. Washington State Police say that the truck driver is thought to have been asleep at the time of the accident.

According to a police report, the truck collision took place on Highway 97 about five miles north of Orondo at approximately 8:00 a.m. Images of the mangled truck and bus appeared in media coverage of the accident, and the severity of the damage to the two vehicles indicates that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck the other vehicles. A police representative said that alcohol or drugs have not been ruled out as possible contributing factors.

The woman behind the wheel of the car was pronounced dead at the scene by responding emergency medical personnel, and a 12-year-old girl who had been her passenger suffered injuries. The girl was taken to a medical facility in Wenatchee along with the school bus driver, the truck's driver and passenger and 43 schoolchildren. Injuries suffered in the crash included fractures, bruises and lacerations. None of the injuries is considered to be life threatening.

Federal regulations strictly limit the amount of time that commercial vehicle operators can spend behind the wheel, and drivers and their employers may face civil sanctions and criminal penalties when these rules are violated. A personal injury attorney may choose to file a lawsuit against impaired, drowsy or fatigued truck drivers or their employers when their negligent actions cause injury, loss or damage to others. This litigation could seek damages including medical expenses and lost income.

Source: ABC News, "Officials: Truck Driver Fell Asleep in Fatal Collision", Associated Press, March 5, 2015

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