Much of what we buy in stores or order online for delivery to our homes is shipped via truck. In addition to consumer goods, virtually every item imaginable from cows and turkeys to aircraft engines and bridge girders 100 feet in length travel the nation's highways on trucks.
All of this movement comes with a price. No, not the cost of shipping from Amazon. No, the true cost is measured in the thousands who die in truck accidents every year and the thousands who are injured.
Many of these crashes are caused by truck drivers who have been awake too long and have driven too many miles. Drowsy driving is dangerous for any driver, but when the driver is guiding a 40-ton truck at 70 miles per hour and they nod off, the consequences are often catastrophic.
A detailed article from the Daily Mail, describes one such case, where a Pennsylvania trucker dozed off on the Ohio turnpike. When he came to consciousness, he saw a Ford Focus was too close, and attempted to slow his truck. It was too late, and he smashed the Ford into the rear of another semi-truck.
The crash killed a 47-year-old math professor and severely injured her son with a traumatic brain injury. The truck driver pled guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular assault and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
The company settled with the woman's husband $40.8 million. It was one of the largest settlements for a deadly truck accident, but the incredible pain and cost of this type of accident is shown by the fact that the majority of the settlement will be used to pay the future medical expenses of the son who suffered the traumatic brain injury.
Next time, we will look at how the trucking industry is working to make the job of truck drivers even more dangerous.
Dailymail.co.uk, "How commercial trucking has become the 'deadliest job in America' due to driver fatigue and lax regulation leaving a wake of casualties," Snejana Farberov and Associated Press, September 30, 2014