A semi-truck driver is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel before crashing into two vehicles from an Alabama sheriff's office and sending two law enforcement officials to the hospital. Per WTVY, multiple witnesses at the scene in Houston County reported hearing the truck driver say he fell asleep at the steering wheel in the moments immediately preceding the crash.
The truck driver was employed by Total Transportation of Mississippi LLC, an affiliate of U.S. Xpress Enterprise and an employer of nearly 1,000 drivers. The accident comes on the heels of the company having to pay a massive settlement to a victim involved in a separate semi-truck crash after witnesses claimed the driver failed to slow down and was traveling at high speeds.
In the latter incident, five nursing students were killed and two other victims survived, although one of the survivors was left with a traumatic brain injury. The trucking company, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists as having a satisfactory safety rating, was forced to pay $15 million to the brain injury survivor following the incident.
The Houston County crash again shines a spotlight on the dangers posed by truckers who drive while drowsy. Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver fatigue makes it difficult for motorists to effectively assess their surrounding situations, and it can reduce reaction time, which can lead to accidents. Additionally, truck drivers are often unable to accurately assess their own fatigue levels, which can lead them to take to the roadway despite exhibiting symptoms of fatigue.