An accident which happened on an American highway in January is an example of the consequences for driving while fatigued. One truck driver has lost his job and his employer has been shut down for safety violations stemming from the January 27th incident.
The truck driver was declared a threat to public safety and will probably never be able to drive a truck again for a living and the company he was employed by has been deemed an imminent hazard to public safety.
The company involved, DND International has been the focus of an investigation that started immediately after the truck crash which claimed the life of a toll worker and caused serious injury to an Illinois State Police trooper.
Subsequently the driver of the truck, a 46 year old man was banned from driving a commercial vehicle following an investigation. He has also been charged by authorities, his charges include driving a commercial vehicle while impaired and fatigued, and driving beyond the maximum number of hours.The man was initially jailed for these felonies but has since been released on bail.
The incident which claimed the life a toll worker and changed the life of the truck driver took place on January 27th when his tractor trailer plowed into a police vehicle and a tollway vehicle which had been stopped on the road assisting another semi-truck driver.
A fiery crash ensued during which the 39 year old tollway worker was severely injured and a 38 year old state trooper was killed.
During the investigation it was discovered that the driver had committed various fatigue related offences in the prior months. The following excerpt explains:
Investigators reportedly found “a continuous pattern of violations” over the last year, including six false records of duty status violations, five 14-hour duty limit violations, two 11-hour driving limit violations and eight violations for driving more than eight hours since the last break of at least 30 minutes, according to the out-of-service order.
The company involved has also landed in hot water. The following excerpt explains their role in the accident according to authorities,
“DND International’s drivers routinely travel on Illinois Toll Roads, but DND International refuses to compare toll transaction information to its drivers’ logs to monitor hours of service compliance,” the order stated. “When FMCSA’s investigators compared toll transaction data with the logs from the seven sampled drivers, an unmistakable, dangerous pattern of serious falsification emerged. The drivers had falsified in excess of 25 percent of their records of duty status. All seven drivers falsified their logs during this period.”
It was clear after the investigation that the truck driver who caused the accident had violated federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigue and falsified his logbooks so that the actual number of hours he worked would be hidden.
As this tragic incident highlights fatigue is a major concern not only because of legal compliance reasons but also because of the consequences on the health and safety of other innocent road users.