Though the following story did not occur in Vancouver, or Portland or even in the state of Oregon, it is important for local residents to know about. The wreck involved multiple vehicles, a state trooper and likely a very sleepy truck driver who has been arrested as a result of the crash.
According to officials, a 46-year-old truck driver was driving down a highway when he smashed into two vehicles that had stopped to help another vehicle that was having mechanical problems. A 39-year-old man lost his life in the fiery crash and a 38-year-old state trooper was badly burned and suffered multiple broken bones.
Officials believe that the 46-year-old truck driver who caused this fatal accident was overworked and sleep-deprived. He had been working for more than 36 hours, and yet he only got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep during that time. Possibly as a result, he did not see the two vehicles that he struck -- even though they had their emergency flashers on.
Some Vancouver residents may not know that there are very strict rest laws that apply to truck drivers and the truck industry. In addition, truck drivers are not supposed to work a certain number of shifts in a given time period.
These rules are in place for obvious reasons: to keep accidents like this from happening. When they do happen, these rules hold the truck driver and his or her company accountable for their negligence. Hopefully some clear answers are available soon, and the victims (and their loved ones) can earn the justice they deserve.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Prosecutors: Semi driver in fatal crash worked 36 hours with 3 1/2 hours sleep," Clifford Ward, Jan. 29, 2014