A 19-year-old Round Rock woman is lucky to be alive after being crashed into by an 18-wheeler on I-35. The woman was driving home from a visit with her mother when she slowed down in response to traffic and was struck from behind. The woman said that everything went black, and as her car’s glass shattered, she felt the air being sucked out of her car. She was aware enough to call police after the accident, who then spoke to the driver of the 18-wheeler. He said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
The 18-wheeler’s black box showed that the driver was going 50mph when he crashed into the young woman’s car.
She has filed a lawsuit against the trucking company that employed the driver, arguing that her injuries could have been prevented if the driver had been tested for sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 28 percent of all truck drivers are vulnerable to sleep apnea. This means that more than one in four truck drivers could be affected by the condition, which makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, making driving for long hours and distances dangerous.
A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health showed that drivers who have obstructive sleep apnea and go untreated are five times more likely to get into a preventable truck crash. The same study estimated that one-fifth of all truck crashes are caused by driver fatigue.