Police suspect that truck driver fatigue may have been a factor in a single vehicle crash that took place in the early hours of October 27. According to reports, a semi truck ended up in a creek bed after crashing through a highway guardrail and down an embankment. The truck accident happened around 1:30 a.m. on Interstate 94 between Billings and Custer.

A passenger in the tractor trailer escaped with only minor injuries, but the driver was listed in serious condition after being transported to Billings for medical care. Emergency responders spent four hours freeing the driver from the wreckage.

An accident investigation continues, but a Highway Patrol Trooper who responded to the crash suspected that the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel. According to the trooper, there were no marks on the roadway or other indications that the big rig swerved before hitting the guardrail.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes and enforces regulations intended to cut down on driver fatigue and reduce the risk of accidents. Drivers are required to maintain a trucking log and observe mandatory rest periods. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always follow the rules and accidents caused by driver fatigue continue to happen.

In some cases, truck drivers exceed maximum driving hours for personal gain. In other cases, drivers are pushed to break the rules by their employers. A driver who violates federal occupational regulations may be liable to anybody injured in an accident stemming from the violation. When an employer shares responsibility for the rule violation, the employer may also share in the responsibility to compensate victims for their injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help injured truck accident victims get the compensation they deserve from all blameworthy parties.

Source: Billings Gazette, “2 injured in semitrailer crash,” Oct. 27, 2012