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Construction zones are more dangerous than you may believe, especially when a big rig is around. When a truck somehow fails to stop and plows into the cars ahead of it, the result is a path of destruction and oftentimes major injury and/or loss of life.
Consider Wanda and John Lindsay’s experience. The couple was in a construction zone in a line of stopped cars. Out of the blue, a massive semi-truck plowed into their car’s rear end at a speed in excess of 50 mph. The outcome of this accident? The rear end of the car occupied by the Lindsays was accordioned, resulting in John’s death.
The accident left pieces and fragments littered around a 100-yard radius, and the trucker confessed to the police that his eyes had strayed from the road.
This accident raised a lot of eyebrows, as people wondered what caused the trucker to drive into the construction zone while using cruise control at a relatively normal speed. This unanswered question plagued Wanda for days on end – that is, until she learned the truth contained in a doctor’s report obtained by her attorney. Lindsay had to make a wrongful death claim, citing the trucking outfit along with the vehicle driver. As fate would have it, the vehicle operator received a sleep apnea diagnosis only weeks prior to the tragic wreck.
The trucking company ignored the issue and allowed the man to continue working, rather than allowing him to get the help and treatment he needed. This put the man in danger as well as everyone on the road around him. In this case the trucking company chose to ignore the trucker’s illness, denying its existence despite the medical record indicating otherwise.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a study was conducted proving that about one third of commercial truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Countless other operators of big rigs suffer with identical medical ailments.
While Wanda Lindsay is diligently working on her goal of having the trucking company implement sleep programs for its drivers, it remains to be seen how long it will be before this actually comes to pass. All is not lost, however, as the company whose driver killed Wanda’s husband is now partnering with a local hospital to screen potential workers for sleep apnea before putting them on the road.
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