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North Carolina woman wants tougher laws for trucking industry

Last summer, a North Carolina woman learned that her husband had been killed when his vehicle was hit head-on by a commercial truck. Police later reported that the truck driver had fallen asleep while driving on the busy interstate.

Now the woman and other traffic safety advocates are hoping to call attention to the serious dangers of driver fatigue, especially amongst individuals who are responsible for driving large tractor trailers on our nation's roads. According to statistics, more than 5,000 Americans are killed every year in car accidents and truck accidents involving tired or sleeping drivers. Statistics also suggest that more than 25 percent of commercial drivers are drowsy when behind the wheel. "They're putting everybody's life, even their own at risk when they are out there driving," the widow stated.

Traffic safety groups are pushing for state and federal regulators to enforce stricter laws for the trucking industry that would prevent drowsy truckers from driving. Fatigue can impair one's judgment and reaction time, significantly impacting one's ability to make smart decisions when driving. And as the North Carolina woman knows all too well, falling asleep at the wheel could result in a fatal accident.

The widow said that her husband had been driving on I-85 in South Carolina on July 30. A commercial truck traveling in the opposite direction suddenly crossed the median of the interstate and struck her husband's vehicle. Understanding that the fatal accident could have been prevented had the trucker not been driving while he was tired, the woman hopes that her story will help to raise awareness of the seriousness of driver fatigue and the need for laws to better regulate commercial truck drivers so that no other family has to experience the pain and suffering that she has.

Source: NewsChannel 36, "Widow speaks out after husband killed by sleeping truck driver," Feb. 26, 2012

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