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Truck Driver in Deadly Colorado Crash May Have Been Sleeping

Tired truckers continue to pose a serious threat to everyone on the road throughout Colorado and across the country. A recent crash outside of Pueblo that left a man and his dog dead is just the latest example.

A 33-year-old trucker from Texas was killed in the accident after his big rig reportedly left the road, slammed into a guardrail, jack-knifed and rolled over, according to CBS News. Colorado State Police investigators are looking into whether the man had fallen asleep behind the wheel prior to the crash, the news outlet reports.

The truck was hauling hamburger patties when the crash occurred just after 7 a.m. near the I-25 exit between Pueblo and Colorado City.

“At this point, CSP accident investigators believe the northbound semi went off the left side of the road, collided with a guardrail, veered across the road and into the median where it hit another guardrail and went across the southbound lanes,” Logan Smith reports for CBS News. “The cab and trailer jack-knifed, then the trailer rolled.” 

“Together, the truck and trailer went up an overpass embankment and over two lanes of traffic,” according to CBS. “The tractor landed on the east side of the overpass, landing on the cab.”

The trucker was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. One of the two dogs in the truck cab with him was also killed. A 26-year-old local man’s pickup truck was struck by the rolling trailer, but the man was not injured.

The southbound lanes of the interstate were shut down for some 14 hours after the accident.

The massive 18-wheeler dangled precariously off of a bridge on Interstate 25 for hours following the collision. Pueblo County Sheriff’s deputies and local emergency responders assisted with traffic control and helped stabilize the truck so it could eventually be cleared.

“Five fire departments, three law enforcement agencies, CDOT crews, an ambulance and a medical helicopter, and two tow truck companies responded to the scene,” according to CBS.

Truck Driver Fatigue Kills

Nearly 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents across the U.S. every year, according to data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That includes up to 100 in Colorado.

Truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of accidents. It slows truckers’ reaction time and dims decision-making, not to mention causes some drivers to simply nod off behind the wheel.

Fatigue is caused by a number of factors, including lack of sleep, medication side effects and overwork. Truckers are often pushed to hit tight deadlines by spending long stretches of hours behind the road in harsh weather, heavy traffic and other difficult conditions.

Federal regulations require truck drivers throughout the U.S. to take a break for at least 30 minutes for every eight hours they spend behind the wheel. The rules also impose various caps on the number of hours that drivers can log at any given time. Truckers are limited to 11 hours of driving maximum after at least 10 hours off of the road, for example. They also may not drive beyond the 14th hour after hitting the road following at least a 10-hour break.

Additional restrictions cap truckers at 60 or 70 hours on duty over the course of seven or eight days, depending on certain circumstances. That period only restarts after a trucker spends at least 34 consecutive hours off of the road.

Truck crashes also can be caused by a number of other factors, such as trucker intoxication and just plain negligence. That is not to mention insufficient training and oversight by trucking companies. 

Trucking companies and their drivers also often cut corners when it comes to maintenance and repair, creating a recipe for disaster on busy highways. Regular maintenance and inspections are legally required in order to prevent big rigs that spend long hours in operation from breaking down in the middle of traffic and creating safety hazards.

Legal Rights for People Injured in Colorado Truck Accidents

Anyone who is injured in a truck or other traffic accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the accident. That includes negligent truck drivers and their employers, as well as other potentially liable parties.

The money damages typically available in these cases include cash for medical bills, property damage, missed wages during recuperation and any long-term impact of the injuries on the person’s ability to earn a living. Additional punitive damages may also be available in certain situations to punish particularly reckless behavior by a truck driver and his or her employer.

To obtain compensation, you have to be able to prove liability. A seasoned Denver accident attorney at our firm can help.

Like other drivers in Colorado, truckers are legally required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means complying with traffic laws, staying alert, and taking basic steps to ensure that their vehicles are in good working order. Truck drivers are also expected to refrain from dangerous behavior while behind the wheel, like texting and driving or operating a truck while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

A trucker who does not live up to these responsibilities is likely to be found negligent and liable for any crashes that result.

The trucking company for whom the trucker is driving may also be responsible for the accident. That is not to mention a wide range of insurance companies that may also be on the hook when truck accidents happen.

Speak with a Denver Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck, car, motorcycle or other collision in Colorado, a Denver accident attorney at Levine Law can help you understand your legal rights and options. 

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver accident attorney.

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