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A recent accident involving five vehicles on the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma required three ambulances and two helicopters to transport seven people to a hospital to be treated for injuries. According to the Oklahoma State Patrol, the commercial truck driver who apparently started the pileup was sick at the time of the accident. He suffered a head injury and was hospitalized.

All of the other drivers and passengers were treated and released except for a passenger in one of the cars. She was initially taken to a hospital in Vinita to be treated for trunk, leg and head injuries, and she was later transferred to a hospital in Tulsa. Her condition was said to be stable.

Another commercial truck and a third car were also involved in the pileup, and the drivers of those vehicles reportedly came away with no injuries.

In addition to being sick, the driver of the first truck is believed to have been traveling at a speed that was unsafe for the traffic conditions.

The U.S. Department of Transportation upholds stricter standards for drivers of commercial vehicles than for noncommercial drivers. People who hold a commercial driver’s license must maintain those high standards when operating a vehicle on public roads. If truck drivers take their duties lightly and drive when they are too sick to operate the vehicle safely, they could lose their certification.

Truck drivers and their employers may also be subject to civil lawsuits if negligence on their part resulted in injuries to other motorists. With that in mind, Oklahoma residents who have been injured in a truck accident should be aware of their rights.

Source: KJRH, “Will Rogers Turnpike westbound lanes reopened after two semi-trucks, two car collide,” Amy Jenson, Dec. 27, 2013